This morning's industry breakfast gave us a great overview of the fishing industry and growth in participation over the past few years-- up 11 percent.
Johnny Bench was the featured speaker. That's him in the green jacket. He is known for being the hall of fame catcher of the Cincinnati Reds during their run of championships in the 1970s.
Johnny told us his life story, which began in Oklahoma, growing up on a farm. He dreamed of playing professional baseball from age 4 on up. In 5th grade when he told his classmates of the dream, they laughed at him. He was 5 foot 2 inches tall at the time, with size 12 feet. He was drafted by the Reds at the age of 17 and quickly became a success at the professional level. He said part of what drove him was a fear of failure. Not that he was personally afraid of failure but more that he didn't want to disappoint his family, friends and teammates.
Bench grew up fishing often with his dad. He's passionate about the sport still today, and spoke proudly of taking his two children, ages 3 and 7, fishing.