CELEBRATION, Fla. — Sometimes, the obligations of a legendary outdoors television host get in the way of what's most important — tournament fishing. But Jimmy Houston, who makes more than 100 personal appearances each year, has his own ESPN2 television show and appears on other shows, is investing his time, energy and talent in the groundbreaking 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series.
The 15-time CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier has the opportunity to compete for more than $11 million in the 2006 tournament series, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, the Bassmaster Majors, the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year program and other contingencies. And he won't have to be away from the camera for long, as same-day coverage of the Bassmaster Majors' final day will air on ESPN2 and other tournament coverage will be featured on the show CITGO Bassmasters.
Though Houston juggles his fishing career with television and personal appearances, the extra work hasn't hurt his reputation or skills: He has two BASS wins, an astounding 35 top-10 BASS finishes and one of the most popular and longest-running outdoors shows on ESPN2.
"My life is pretty crazy right now with all of the commitments," Houston said, while taking a short break from filming a television show. "Now, more than ever in my life, I have a lot going on."
At 61 years old, Houston's competitive spirit and never-ending energy is admirable. He's one of the most seasoned Elite Series anglers (behind 65-year-old Guy Eaker) and is still a force to be reckoned with in tournaments. "I expect to be real competitive," the Oklahoman said. "I wouldn't play the game if I still didn't have that feeling."
Houston spent his off-season taping his television show, Jimmy Houston Outdoors, which airs Saturdays on ESPN2 at 7:30 a.m. EST. He's also finalizing sponsors for his boat wrap, where he wants to feature four major companies.
His current sponsors include Chevrolet, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, Minn Kota trolling motors, fishfinder brand Humminbird Electronics, Japanese tackle company Shimano, Inc., Terminator Lures, TTI Companies, camouflage pattern company Mothwing Camo Technologies, Inc. and the Excalibur lure brand of Pradco Fishing.
"The things BASS is doing right now are revolutionary," Houston said. "I have to hand it to them. Five years ago, I would have never been approached by some of the companies I have spoken with."