I was messing around the other day — fishing, of course — when I ran into a fellow who reminded me about the Sunday tournaments on a local lake near my house, Deer Creek Reservoir. I’d fished them a time or two in the past and had a good time so I thought why not.
Out of courtesy I made sure they didn’t mind fishing against an Elite pro. They didn’t. (And they shouldn’t have, either. The last time I competed in one of their tournaments I blanked. That takes the fear out of almost anybody.)
Anyway, when I arrived at the ramp there were only three boats entered, mine made four. We fished anyway. The lake is down for the winter, and isn’t very big anyway, so the fishing was a little crowded. There was just enough bank for the four of us. I finished second but didn’t get a check. They only paid for first place.
The guy that runs it does one every Sunday from when the ice melts in the spring until it covers over in the winter. I suppose some years they fish all the way through December and maybe into January.
The thing that struck me about it was the way our sport is adapted by anglers to meet their needs and wishes. This is a small event by any standard. And yet, the guys out there fishing were having the time of their life.
It reminded me that we don’t all have to fish in the big-time to be successful. If you measure success by having fun and doing what you want to do these guys were some of the most successful men on the planet. That’s a real tribute to our sport.
The fruit jar circuits matter. They might not get the press that some other trails get but they form a base for competitive bass fishing. Without that base the Elite Series would mean nothing. In truth, it probably wouldn’t exist at all.
I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating: Fishing for most anglers is about having a hobby, good natured competition and spending time with family and friends. That’s every bit as important as what we do at the top professional level. If we forget that we’ll pay a heavy price someday.
That’s enough preaching for now. I need to finish my work at Signcom so I can help Tracey put together Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what we’re going to do but I am sure I’ll have some responsibility for doing something to help make it happen.
Friday morning I’ll leave early for the Thanksgiving tournament on Lake Cumberland. After that I might do the right thing and go back to Columbus, or I might go the other way and slip over to Dale Hollow and see if I can catch one of those giant Obey River smallies. I’ll let you know next week which side won.