As the 2013 Bassmaster Classic approaches I thought we’d continue our look back at some of the greats, guys who are great fishermen but also great guys. Davy Hite is one of them. Back many years ago when I first met and fished with him he was best described as an absolute fishing machine. That man would fish anywhere, anytime for bass and for any amount of money. He didn’t know the meaning of the word quit.
I remember one time before he won the Classic we were fishing an event down on Lake Murray. It was the last day and we were standing in the weigh-in line waiting for our final catches to be weighed and the checks to be distributed. As was my tradition, I intended to stay for the after-tournament festivities. (I’m frugal — free food.) Davy had another idea.
He turned to me and said that if we left right after our fish were weighed we could drive all night and still make another tournament on another lake several hundred miles away. I was as energetic as he was — note that I didn’t say crazy — and so I followed him across most of the back roads in the eastern United States until dawn the next morning.
Without an hour of sleep we signed-up at the ramp and fished another event. I can’t speak for him but I can say that I don’t think I could do that again. I love to fish, and I pride myself on being tough, but two tournaments with an all-night drive in between is probably more than I can handle these days.
I always admired his determination to fish and to compete. It says something positive about him. There’s something else about him, though, which I think is even more important. That’s his attitude about the sport and his respect for the fish.
His Classic win in 1999 on the Louisiana Delta set a serious standard for all of us. It was miserably hot down there at the end of July. In some places the thermometers were recording 100 degrees or better. Nevertheless, Davy kept at it. In the end he weighed 55.10 pounds of bass to bring home the gold.
That win really set his career on fire. But then, somewhere along the line, he ran into some tough years. He wasn’t catching them like he once did. After being at the top of his game he found himself struggling. Nevertheless, he didn’t complain. He just kept fishing. And, sure enough, after a while he started catching them again.
I’ll never forget what he said, both in words and by his actions, about that experience. He told us all to never take success lightly in this sport, tough times might be just around the corner. He said we should appreciate the wins and the high finishes, but also warned us about expecting them.
Davy’s a class act. He’s fished 14 Bassmaster Classics during his career. I guarantee you he’s never taken any of them for granted.