John Crews is a talent. He's finished in the money in more than half of the tournaments he's entered, qualified for the Bassmaster Classic four times, won almost half a million dollars in prize money and designed products for several major tackle companies. Until now, though, he had never answered our 20 questions.
1. Where are you from, originally?
A little town called Jetersville in Virginia.
2. How did you get started in bass fishing?
We had a small pond in our backyard that had both bream and bass in it, and I didn't want anything to do with those bream. All I wanted were the bass.
3. Who were some of your earliest fishing heroes?
When I was young, the guy who took me fishing most was a friend of the family named Willy Logan. He's since passed, maybe eight or nine years ago, but he got me hooked on bass fishing early on.
4. When did you realize you had made it in the bass fishing industry?
A friend once told me since fishing had been my only means of income for several years that I was a professional fisherman.
5. What's the biggest bass you've ever caught?
Eleven pounds. I caught it on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida. The sad thing is that it wasn't even the big fish of the day.
6. What do you love most about bass fishing?
It's always changing. You always have to work at it to be successful. I don't care what body of water you're on, where you are in the country or how long you've been fishing, you still have to work at it and adjust.
7. What is your greatest strength as a bass angler?
I would have to say being in shape. Because of my nutrition plan, I can go three or four tournaments in a row and not be fatigued.
8. What is your greatest weakness as a bass angler?
Not having won a national bass event. That's a mental hurdle I need to overcome if I want it to happen over and over again.
9. Where is your favorite place to fish for bass and why?
Any place that isn't freezing cold. My hands don't do well in cold weather. I really like every type of body of water — tough, good, deep and clear, shallow and muddy, tidal rivers. It's a philosophy I adopted several years ago and I truly believe in it. It helps me not get too pumped or too upset when I see the lakes on the schedule.
10. What question do you get asked most by fans and how do you answer it?
"How'd you get all those sponsors?" I always say that it took about four years of fishing out of my own pocket before I ever got one that wrote me a check. Then folks realize that it may not be as easy as it seems and definitely doesn't happen overnight.
11. What's the biggest mistake you see from casual anglers?
Not focusing on the fishing as much as they should be. Casual tournament anglers get wrapped up in sponsors or what rod they're using or what other guys are doing and don't focus on the fishing. If you do that, then the rest will take care of itself.
12. Do you have any fishing superstitions?
I don't really believe in superstitions or luck, but I am a creature of habit. I have a daily routine for every tournament, and I like to have the same roommates and stay in the same kinds of places. This takes some of the variables out of tournaments and really simplifies your fishing.
13. How big a part does luck play in fishing?
I'd say between five and 10 percent. The same guys get lucky every event and the same guys get unlucky at every event. The longer I fish the more I see that luck is not a huge factor. There are a million reasons for this. Some guys are good anglers, others can find fish well, and others do better homework than most.
14. What has been your greatest accomplishment in the fishing industry?
My biggest achievement as an angler is qualifying for four Bassmaster Classics. In the industry, being voted president of the PAA (Professional Anglers Association) is something that meant a lot to me. That says that my peers believe in me, I've got a good head on my shoulders and that I'm looking out for the best interest of the guys.
15. What goals have you yet to accomplish in your bass fishing career?
I want to win multiple BASS events. Winning one isn't what I strive for, I want several. I would also really like to win the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award. That would mean the most for one accomplishment, but winning an event is the first step. The Classic would be nice, too, but it only comes around once a year, and it's hard to put yourself in position to win that.
16. What keeps you motivated to reach those goals?
The fact that I haven't attained any of them yet. That makes me want them that much more. Sometimes there are things that keep you from being 100 percent focused on your fishing that are out of your control, but I'm making an effort to put more focus on my fishing. The Elite Series does that to you as the level of competition is ratcheted up. You have to get better each year to stay competitive.
17. What has been the greatest regret of your fishing career?
That's hard to say. I don't look too much in the mirror, but I learn from my experiences. I don't fret on any one decision, but there are those things in tournaments that you'd like to go back and change, but I don't consider those regrets.
18. When you're not bass fishing, how do you like to spend your time?
I like to spend time with my family and work out. I also have other stuff related to the industry that keeps me busy.
19. What profession (other than your own) would you like to have tried?
If I wasn't a bass fisherman, I'd be an entrepreneur of some sort. I'd own one or two small businesses that dealt with investments and all kinds of stuff.
20. When it's all over, how do you want people to remember you?
I'd like to be known as someone who was beneficial to the sport for a lot of reasons, helped grow the sport and someone who also had a remarkable tournament career.