This is a blog that I never and I mean NEVER thought I would be writing!
Recently, while on Table Rock Lake, I was pondering an ever-present and very nagging issue, should I stay or should I go? I don’t mean stay at Table Rock; I am referring to continuing on as a full time bass pro.
As with all sports, ours is full of ups and downs. Everyone knows the amount of travel involved but I actually like the gypsy lifestyle of a touring bass pro. I love the excitement of competition and cannot even explain my love for and addiction to fishing.
I can even remember the first time I wanted to be a bass pro. Now, I am 51 years old and have been a full time bass pro for almost 12 years. (Bear with me; I am leading up to something.) I have had some really great times and met some incredible people in all my travels. The first time I told my father I wanted to be professional bass fisherman he said, that’s great… But you will finish high school, go to college and get a real job like everyone else in America.
I can’t blame him for his reluctance in embracing my newfound passion; you see I was only 14 years old at the time. Bo Dowden had just won a Bassmaster Invitational at 1000 Islands flipping a black and blue jig in the eel grass up the St. Lawrence River. It’s crazy that I remember that; but, at age 14, that was the beginning of my love affair with tournament fishing and the beginning of my obsession with fishing.
Growing up, it’s all I wanted to do. I had a shot gun in one hand and a rod and reel in the other. My father and I actually hunted together all the time but all I could talk about was fishing, I would tell him of the world record walleye on page 63 in the October issue of Fishing Facts Magazine and about a black and blue jig and how to fish it. His reply was, outstanding! He said that if I would pay that much attention to my schoolwork, I would be a straight-A student.
My fishing affair never waned as I matured into manhood; the passion only grew and encompassed my entire being. I used to say I would fish for anything with fins and eyeballs. Being a B.A.S.S. pro became my goal and becoming a full time touring professional was in the cards.
I made the life change to become a bass pro rather late in my life due to family responsibilities; it was when my father passed away in 2000 that I decided life was too short and decided to pursue my dream. I made it! Full-time fishing was to be my career and way of life for the next 12 years. I built quite a fishing resume over the years and have had an absolute blast doing so. I met some of my closest friends while on tour and I have experienced the best highs and lows of the game – all of which molded me into who I am today.
During my 12 years as a pro, I have been fortunate to have many good sponsors: OSI Sealants, Legend Boats, Mercury Outboards, Powell Rods, Silver Thread Line, Bomber, Rebel, Yum… I hope I am not leaving anyone out. Competitive bass fishing is in my DNA; and after 12 years of doing this full time, I have no regrets. Well, that’s not exactly true...
I do have one regret; it’s that at this time I must take a leave of absence from the sport I love. This is incredibly sad and a huge adjustment for me. This hiatus is not due to anything medical (Thank God!) but is based on the financial matters and the fact that I would like to spend more time with my family and get to see my children excel in the sports they love. All of my kids are great athletes, play school sports and love to fish. For now, I will take on a little different role in life.
I will still fish, just not as a full-time pro. And, hopefully I’ll see you again in the future!
I need to say a big thanks to all of the bass fishing fans; it is because of you we have a sport. I will miss all of my friends at B.A.S.S. and my competitors as well.
God bless, and see you soon.
Frank A. Scalish