And 17 years later, in 2010, now writing stuff for Bassmaster.com I get like really freaked out when, completely unexpectedly, I get transported into what I call a Double Dog Deja Vu.
A rookie on the Elite Series tour comes up to me and asks me this: “db, man, you are great friends with Skeet Reese. Would you just do one thing for me… would you ask him what the secret to success is, what I can do to become as good as he is.”
That means I have to go find Skeet, I have to talk to him some, then I have to talk to him more some so that I can get him to focus, then I have to watch his eyes and whenever his eyes move I have to follow his eyes with my eyes, and then when starts to look above my head I have to get up on my tippy-toes, and then when he starts that big smile of him I actually have to reach out and grab both of his arms and shake them so he regains db focus…
Argh…and Skeet and I are great friends…co-founders of Tackle The Storm…Christmas cards back and forth stuff.
“What’s the question, db, again?”
“What can the rookie do to be a better angler, what can he do to one day be just like you?”
Skeet looks down at me, lifts his sunglasses up and says exactly this:
“Tell him to catch more fish!”
“…you start slippin' and slidin'…”
A couple of paragraphs for Jacopo Gallelli and all the other rookies and Bassmaster Opens anglers who dream to take that Elite stage.
Dear #BornOnTheWrongSide, I hope we get to meet someday. I hope for you nothing but the best, welcome to America, welcome to our sport.
But know this, if the Wrong Side is Italy, you’re talking homeland to me. I would not be here, not have anything like I do if not for the working stiff soul my grandfather, who immigrated here from Italy, gave to me…if you were born and raised there and now you are coming here to “Don’t dream it, Be It…” you were born on the right side that lets that happen.
If the Wrong Side is the other side of the ocean…dude…you love to fish, and from your video you seem to be pretty good at it...BUT MAN you live on a WATER PLANET…that my friend is being BORN ON EXACTLY THE RIGHT DAMN SIDE of this solar system.
“…and it all goes wrong because…”
Out there somewhere, is the next greatest tournament angler, he may be playing right now with plastic boats in his bathtub,
or he may already be in a Bass boat at the Southern Open,
and of the next greatest tournament angler I ask of this, I speak of this,
let what you learn go not to your head, but to your rod and reel,
know that while you may have a jersey on, it does not make the man, the man inside it does,
be humble, if you are not, you will be humbled,
you are not the greatest angler ever, you are not the worst angler, you are just an angler one step closer to the top,
you will find what it takes to get to the top in your heart, not tacklebox,
No Bucks, No Buck Rogers,
who have come before,
who are waiting in line to get here,
who are standing in line to watch you,
and those hooked on the bottom of your line.
Realize that no matter how good you think you may be, pretty much any of these Elites can clean your clock…steady yourself for the pace of greatness you are about to see around you.
Get more votes, score more points, catch more fish…that’s the bottom line…but underneath that is a work ethic you have never seen, or even prepared for, trust me.
Focus, leave everything not dealing with winning behind, then stop thinking about winning,
be in the moment,
be in the fundamentals,
and when all that fails,
“…sometimes you're the bug.”