One overlooked key to having a successful pro fishing career is a having a good business partner. Like many other pros on the Elite Series trail, mine is my wife, Sherry, who handles more tasks than even I can imagine. I bring that up because (a) last week we celebrated our 18th anniversary, and (b) I've been home more than usual for the past few weeks and see everything that she does while I'm away.
It's reminded me how hard she works to juggle the business, the day-to-day household chores and the raising of our boys while I'm gone. She has been with me from the beginning. We dated five years before we were married, so she knew me before I fished professionally.
She's grown with me in the sport and been exposed to the business side and its inner workings, which has been a huge advantage for me. Pro anglers can't possibly handle everything themselves. There are things that I never think of, yet Sherry makes sure every detail is covered.
Unfortunately, we often take for granted all the things that a wife/business partner does for us. Sherry makes my travel and lodging reservations when I'm on tour. She tells me where I'm going and what time I have to be there. That's a huge load off my mind. All I have to do is focus on the fishing. The bills are paid, the accounting is taken care of, and sponsor contracts are handled on time. Those are huge burdens lifted from my shoulders and a big reason I've been as successful as I have over the years. When I come home from a long road trip, she has a checklist of things we need to handle and keeps me organized on all I have to do.
She helps me sort through appearance requests, respond to fan mail and manages our website. She's developing a new clothing line, which we'll sell at the KVD booth that she'll manage at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. We're heading into the sport show season, which adds to the business of our lives. Sherry helps me determine which shows I can attend, books flights and has everything ready for me when it's time to leave. I'll know who is picking me up at the airport and have a full itinerary of where I need to be and when. I'd go crazy trying to do that myself.
Of course, I don't help matters when I'm home because I want to be out hunting and fishing with the boys. I help with kids' homework and do things with them when I'm home, but all of that responsibility falls on her shoulders when I'm gone. I share all of this to remind Bassmasters that the wives behind pro anglers are the unsung heroes of the sport. Every pro needs a good business partner, and to have that in a wife makes it so much better. Remember, it's all about the attitude.