To the college anglers...

“Hold on to sixteen…”

Dateline:  Life

“We’ve let the blade of our innocence dull over time, and it’s only innocence that you find any kind of magic, any kind of courage.”

~Sean Penn

From my grandfather, Grampa Sylvester Barone:  “Childhood, she’s a too short, Oldhood, he’s a too long”

I had just rolled up in his driveway in my Corvette, I was young, he was in his 70’s.

I had no concept of what he was talking about.

I do now.

To the college anglers, check this out; Last night I’m at dinner with Shaw Grigsby and Paul Elias, we are chowing down at the Golden Corral here in Lake Havasu City, I’m chewing on some fried chicken, wipe my cheeks and fingers and say, “I think the universe has got it wrong, we should be 100 years old when we are born and work backwards to being young…”

Later driving home after the Walmart stop Shaw says, “Man I would like to be in that 10-15 age range again especially if I would know then what I know now.”

Me:  “Back to the Future dude, I’d move next door to that Gates and Steve Jobs guys and be hanging around working in their garage for sure…”

Paul:  “If I could go back in time for one day I’d go back to when I was 18, just out of high school, whole darn life in front of me, how exciting.”

To the college anglers, grip this time of your lives, grip it tight…lock tight.

“…as long as you can…”

To the college anglers, the tee-shirt I wear to bed is older than you.

To the college anglers, have fun, have wear your arse off fun.

To the college anglers, listen up, listen up to 185 years of experience of being old.

Between the three of us, Shaw is the youngest at 59, Paul and I are both 63, to the college anglers this is what we would like to tell you:

Paul:  “Finish college, if you want to be a pro angler, go for it but start while you are in college, call around to leaders in our industry, get their take on what would be a good course for you to minor in, ask them what they think are important…”

Shaw:  “Education is the most important part, life is tough, there are lots of ups and downs in this sport, with a good college education you will always have something to fall back on…”

To the college anglers, education is king, take courses that scare you, that make you uncomfortable, if you are a biz major, take a poetry or art history course, if you are an English major, take a Stat course.

The more you are exposed to what’s not you, the better you will do.  We all live on the same drum, some just beat it different than you, expose yourself to that and your life will be so much richer.

Paul:  “…”d”…tell them, always set your goals high.”

Shaw:  “…my father always said don’t be to quick to grow up, it doesn’t get any easier as you grow.”

To the college anglers, relax.

“…changes come around real soon…”

Back in 2013 I met this young man, name is Nick Barr, comes from a small town in the state of Washington, goes to Eastern Washington University and starts a Bass Fishing Team, you can check out Nick’s story right here.

This weekend in California the Eastern Washington Bass Fishing Team won the whole dang college shindig, came out and won the College Western Regional, in fact EVERY Bass fishing team from the school will end up going to the National Championship this coming July in Wisconsin.

Nick, the young man who started all of this for the school wasn’t there, now a graduate he is out working in the industry…and fishing.

Here’s the Eastern Washington University Bass Fishing Team, from left to right:

Jarid Gabbert:  Senior majoring in Construction Management.

Taylor Throop:  Sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Kyle  Sittman:  Sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Laj Tripp:  Freshman majoring in Business.

Travis Opel:  Junior majoring in Electrical Engineering.

Cy Floyd:  Junior majoring in Business Management.

Kyle and Laj were the two regional overall winners, they got the chance to cross the Elite stage, got the chance to hold high their trophies just like the Elites and…

…then do the backstage interviews just like the pros.

To the college anglers, enjoy.

“…make us women and men…”

To the college anglers, only life and death is life and death.

This my young friends, is a game.  Nothing more, nothing less.

It was the young man, the young college angler, Nick Barr, who made me love this college Bass fishing thing, sure I got the idea in theory, but in reality I worried that once again it was just another revenue stream for the old dudes who are seemingly always in charge.

Nick though showed me the truth.

Back in 2013 when I saw Nick launch in competition I saw something scribbled on his hand, not shocking a lot of the Elites do that as well, they write on their hand what their check-in time is, an easy, efficient way to keep track.

Later in the day as I watched Nick weigh-in I saw that what was written on his hand wasn’t numbers, but words…and here are those words:



Imagine that….Have Fun.

To the college anglers, never launch without that written on your hand, seared in your brain.

Life is what you make of it, make it fun.

Make it fun for yourself, make it fun for others.

To the college anglers, do things now that will make your children laugh later.

Be kind, be gentle, but short sheet beds, jump out of closets, dance even if it is just with yourself.

You will fall in love, and fall out.

You will get speeding tickets, and cancelled insurance.

You will have student loans the same length as your mortgage.

You will break expensive stuff and fragile bones.

Your taxes will go up and your belly will hang down.

And through all of it, life will go on.

To the college anglers, launch into life.

Life, is the greatest catch, we humans will ever make.

Here’s hoping, your catch is a bigun’.

“…oh yeah, life goes on.”

Jack & Diane

John Mellencamp


“Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels but old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young”

J. K. Rowling