John Crews and Ed Loughran share three things in common: a love of bass fishing, their home state of Virginia and making lures. That is serious business for Crews, while Loughran is more a tinkerer of customizing his baits.
Crews, 41, of Salem, and Loughran, 49, of Richmond, have found enough in common to be running mates on the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Crews is the veteran with 16 years on the pro tour. Following his first full year of fishing the Bassmaster Opens in 2002, he qualified for the Bassmaster Tour, the forerunner of the Elite Series, and has fished 11 Bassmaster Classics. That was all part of a two-part plan. Crews envisioned life after college as competing in tournaments and finding a career niche in the fishing industry. He found the niche in 2012 by launching Missile Baits.
Loughran followed a more winding path into the Elite Series. Beginning in high school, he guided on the Potomac River, honing his skills along the way. College got in the way of his aspiring tournament career, and he dropped out. At 21, he was at the time the youngest competitor in the Red Man All-American. He got married, finished college and went to work for a Wall Street trading firm as an attorney. He fished the Opens in the mid-1990s, then came back after a 16-year hiatus in 2012. Last year he qualified for the Elite Series and is competing as a rookie.
How did you meet?
John: We met through a mutual friend when I was 15 years old. He taught us both a lot about fishing.
Ed: The friend was Rick Hawkins, who fishes the Opens.
What made you decide to be running mates?
John: It made sense with us being from Virginia and already knowing each other quite well. I also like to stay in rental houses, and he seemed like a good choice for a roommate. Ed was going to be part of it, as long as he qualified for the Elite Series.
Ed: When I qualified this year, I was looking for a roommate, and it just made sense for us to share the road.
What’s he like as a roommate?
John: He is as predictable as I have always known him to be. We can read each other like a book. We are very routine oriented. We both have our ways.
Ed: He’s very disciplined and something to aim for. He is very regimented in what he does. He’s kind of like a metronome. The same, every day.
How do you work together?
John: I am trying to give him as much information as I can. A lot of these places I’ve been to, and been to multiple times. So, I look at it all as paying it forward for all of the information and mentorship he shared with me when I was young. I’ve already been there and done it. I’m trying to relate back to him some of the knowledge that I have gained over the last 20 years.
Ed: He’s offered more help than I have. We fish differently, so it helps us to cover more water and disseminate the information, break it down.
What drives him to compete?
John: He’s always been a competitor ever since I met him as a teenager. His competitive drive is what inspired me to do this, and do it well. It was contagious.
Ed: I go back to his discipline. It’s something that sets him apart. John consistently goes out and practices, going early and staying late. I admire his discipline and work ethic. He never lets up.
What’s he like without the game face?
John: Ed is all about having a good time, listening to good music, having a drink, laughing, make fun of ourselves and relax.
Ed: He’s a lot of fun, a funny guy. Just an enjoyable person to be around.
What do you admire about him?
John: Ed is one of the smartest people who I have ever met in my life. He is wise and knows how to measure it up in practical terms.
Ed: I’ve known him since the inception of Missile Baits. It’s his focus and ability to multi-task. He gets pulled in numerous different directions. It’s a miracle that he can focus and do so well in tournaments. You don’t really realize it all until you travel with him and see the business and fishing side of his life.