For 3-year-old SJ Kennedy, flashing lights and tiny rods are too fun to pass up. With his father, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Steve Kennedy, in tow, Steve Jr. stops at the Master booth to see the Roddy Lites and the Mity Mights.
But SJ has to move on quickly. His dad fed him waffles and pancakes for breakfast, and he's got a lot of sugar to expend before his trip to Legoland tomorrow.
Ugly Stik has a brand new rod this year called the Ugly Stik Elite. That's Shakespeare brand marketing manager Josh Silva holding it in the photo. This newbie incorporates lots of consumer feedback and includes a full cork grip, 35 percent more graphite for less weight and better action, plus modernized design elements. It retails for around $49.
The wildman anglers from Costa's "GeoBass" video series hang out with BASS's Jerry McKinnis (white shirt) and Costa's Al Parkinson (far left).
I found Skeet Reese in the Lucky Craft booth, talking with his brother and sister-in-law. He wasn't sleeping, but when I started to take his picture, he said "How about this pose?" I thought it was a great idea. Skeet always looks relaxed ... but usually not this relaxed.
Here's Ott DeFoe -- one of my favorites. I ran into Ott and his charming wife, Jenny, at the Rapala booth and thought I'd continue with my offbeat photo routine (when you're not a good photographer -- and I'm not -- you try for different). I asked Ott to pose like he was trying to take the camera away from me, and this is what he came up with. I think he looks like he's trying to cast a spell or something -- "You are getting very sleepy."
Ott may not (no rhyme intended) have a future as an actor. No worries, though. He's a top notch bass pro.
With so many cameras on the floor, it's tough to take a photo that's different. That's why I'll often ask my subjects to do something odd. Here's James Niggemeyer in the Strike King booth looking like he's ready to eat the new KVD 8.0 square bill crankbait. We had done a couple of shots of him just holding the bait and smiling, and they were nice but ordinary. When I said, "Look like you really want to eat it," James went into action and gave me this before he broke up laughing about a nanosecond later. He's a great sport and fun to work with. Thanks James! Remember, you can never, ever, ever look as goofy as Greg Hackney did on that one and only cover of Bass Fan magazine (2006, I think). He was dressed like a Viking. Need I say more?
Tyler Reed of B.A.S.S. photobombs a Shimano sign. Actually, photobombing is quite a problem around here (and Tyler Reed is often the culprit). With so many people looking for attention, it's only natural that some will try to jump in the way ... just as Tyler did here with what I was hoping would be a gripping image of a Shimano sign.
Fuji is the biggest player in the rod guide business and their new guide train system is going to take over the rod world in the next few years -- just wait, it's that great a concept and their engineers seem to have it all worked out. In the photo, that's Elite pro Bernie Schultz (right) with Jim Ising, Marketing Director of Angler's Resource, who explained the system to me. Jim had to speak slowly, so I could keep up. Be on the lookout for the story ... coming soon.