If someone were to ask me what similarities I saw between football and fishing, my initial response would probably be “None!” Thinking more about it, however, there are quite a few.
Hear me out.
Both are American-born sports … at least when it comes to bass fishing. Like football, it originated in this country. At the competitive level, both are extremely demanding — each requiring hard work, discipline, preparation and a solid game plan with near perfect execution.
In either sport, a player must be adaptable and quick to adjust if he hopes to succeed. Even when a player thinks he’s fully prepared, some intangible can suddenly create an unexpected challenge.
In either sport, a competitor will experience wins and losses, successes and failures. It’s just part of the game.
My 2017 Elite Series campaign reflects this. I got off to a very rocky start at the season opener on Lake Cherokee, where I zeroed the first day of competition. Day 2 went much better, as I was able to put 18 pounds of fish on the scales and somewhat redeem myself. Even still, the damage was done.
I’ve been battling my way back from it ever since, finally finding some success in the second half of the season. The northern swing went well, and Arkansas was good before that. I finally found my stride and it feels good.
Just like a string of wins in football, you’re somehow more confident and better prepared for what lies ahead. That’s where I am now, and I can’t wait for next season of the Bassmaster Elite Series to get here.
Players from the past
Yesterday I received a call from an old friend — Florida Gator All-American Andy Bean.
In his prime, Andy won SEC and NCAA National Championships in collegiate golf for the University of Florida. From there he went on to a successful career as a PGA professional, winning numerous tournaments there as well.
I met Andy in the 90s, at an ESPN Bass & Golf Classic — a benefit event that combined a round of golf with bass fishing in a competitive format. We were paired together, and we hit it off from the start.
After that, Andy and I continued to fish together — making numerous trips to the Everglades for snook, and fishing for big bass on private phosphate pits in central Florida, where he had access. I had made a friend for life.
Andy is a huge supporter of UF athletics, and when he called to see if I wanted to attend a closed practice session for Gator football, I jumped at the chance.