BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Kenneth Wiley suspected he was being pranked when he got the Oct. 2 call telling him he was the grand-prize winner in the “Fish With G-Man” sweepstakes on Bassmaster.com.
“I was shocked,” Wiley said. “I didn’t think I won because the drawing was on Sept. 30.”
And Wiley had his hopes pinned on the call to let him know he would fish with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle. He woke up every morning, pulled out his iPad and filled out the online form. He was diligent.
“I told my wife, ‘I’m going to win this thing,’” Wiley said of his dogged determination. “But we couldn’t believe it when I did.”
Wiley won a trip to fish with 14-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Swindle, two-night hotel accommodation, round-trip airfare, a two-day car rental and $500 in cash. He also netted gear from Rod Glove, Quantum and Lazer Trokar, as well as Oakley sunglasses, a Humminbird 898i HD SL, four wheels from ATX Wheels, a custom Simms jacket from Mercury Marine, a GoPro Hero 3 black edition and a pro shirt from Swindle for a total estimated value of $10,000.
An avid bass fisherman, Wiley lives in Eads, Tenn., and is on the water almost every weekend, as well as competing in the Bassmaster Weekend Series and local tournaments in his area. He lives only 20 miles outside Memphis and has nearby Pickwick Lake, Kentucky Lake and the Mississippi River at his disposal when he’s got the time to fish. His wife, Dabney, is often in the bass boat with him.
As his prizes arrive on their doorstep, his wife has been perusing them with an aim to increasing her fishing tackle collection and is angling for one of the new rods. So far, she’s scored a T-shirt.
Wiley owns his own pest control and lawn care business, giving him the flexibility to fish when he’s in need of R&R. He has several questions for Swindle when they go fishing, possibly on Lake Guntersville, site of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.
“I tend to use jigs — Carolina rigs and Texas rigs — and I’m trying to force myself to learn to fish crankbaits,” Wilson said. “I really want to learn how to break down the water and find out what (Swindle) is looking for on a lake. I use electronics and am getting better at it, but I also want to know what he’s looking for when he uses his electronics.”
Wiley is a longtime Swindle fan, who admires his “down-to-earth personality” and humor, as well as his style of fishing. Being paired with someone renowned for his skill at “junk” fishing, Wiley hopes Swindle can clue him in on how to use a greater variety of baits and how best to analyze a body of water.
In Wiley’s case, persistence paid off with those daily contest entries.
“I really didn’t tell anyone I was entering except my wife, but after I won and told my buddies, they told me they started entering the sweeps for ‘Fish with Palaniuk,’” Wiley said.
The “Fish with Palaniuk” sweepstakes, valued at $4,995, is currently underway on Bassmaster.com. The winner receives a fishing trip with Palaniuk on the lake of his choice, a two-night hotel stay, round-trip airfare, a rental car and $500 cash. Also part of the prize package: Two Abu Garcia Revo Premier baitcasting reels with matching Veritas rods, an Abu Garcia Revo spinning reel with a matching Veritas rod, Marline lighting gear from Rigid Industries, an assortment of Storm Arashi crankbaits, an assortment of Berkley fishing line and soft baits and an assortment of Buck Knives gear.
The winner will be selected Jan. 7.