Learning to work from the best in the biz

Last week, I attended a media outing on Table Rock Lake, Mo., at Big Cedar Lodge. I was invited by Carhartt to represent their company during the media functions.

The event was an on-the-water workshop where outdoor writers and photographers that make their living publishing stories and pictures about bass fishing techniques pair up with top pros like KVD, Iaconelli and Swindle to get photos and story ideas.

I gotta be honest – I was pretty clueless going into the thing. I really wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. So, the longtime fishing industry marketing guy we call “Guck,” who helped organize the event, gave me a lots of honest pointers the evening before the media gathering kicked off. But he also really encouraged me to pay attention to how Mike Iaconelli, Kevin VanDam and Gerald Swindle worked.

And that’s the key word – “worked.”

Sure, there were plenty of laughs and good food but mainly it was a work event. We’d meet for coffee and a powdered donut in the dark at 6:00 a.m. and hurry to get on the water at sunrise to make sure we shot the best looking photos during sunrise.

The first person I saw in the cabin, long before sunrise, was KVD. He had just fished for seven straight days at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in everything from hail storms to cold rain. Yet, there he was drinking coffee, cuttin’ up with everybody and ready to get out on the water on a cold, wet 44-degree morning. The rain finally cleared, and I’m sure Kevin’s media guest took home some awesome photos and story ideas.

G-Man was cool enough to invite me to go fishing for an hour at midday during our lunch break. And lookin’ back – you know what – he didn’t take me fishing to catch fish. He took me fishing because he knew I needed advice on how to handle myself at the media outing. He told me two simple things: 1) Offer creative ideas for stories and photos to the writers; 2) If I didn’t know the answer to any questions regarding the schedule, I should ask him, Kevin or Ike.

When “G” said to offer good ideas to the writers and photographers, it reminded me of my dad. He’s a veterinarian that works way more in an effort to serve others, than he does to serve himself.

Actually, the work ethic of these pro anglers first struck me at Guntersville during practice for the Bassmaster Classic a few months ago. I came off the lake at dark. I mean it was pitch black. I just knew I had stayed out longer than anybody trying to find the winning deal.

I was wrong. When I left the ramp that night, Iaconelli’s truck and trailer were still in the parking lot. He was still out on Guntersville. Working.