Sic fac Novum (Make It New)

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher

Dateline: Aug. 30, 2007

I am standing on a dock at a fishing tournament, it is rainy, windy and cold.

It is five-fifteen in the morning!

I do not fish.

I don’t like being outside.

I am about to climb into/onto a boat that is a surfboard with seats and launch into waves twice the size of the boat.

I am a “co-angler,” which I told my wife was someone who helped the “real-angler” in the boat steer the miniature surfboard or grab the fish.

In the two days I’ve been here I’ve called my bosses at ESPN and resigned twice, neither time was it accepted instead they told me, “It’s just fishing, a couple guys on the dock, whoever gets the first fish wins the case of beer.”

Here’s how I explained it back 11 years ago on ESPN:

Here’s a quick test you can do at home to see if you can be one of the best on bass.

The next time you want to go fishing, gather up all your gear, your favorite hat, that raggedy lucky shirt, go out in the garage and pull the car out.

Then hand your wife the keys.

Because to get to that favorite fishing spot, you’re going to sit on the roof of the car, while wifey drives at 70 to 80 mph down a gravel road.

And halfway there I’m going make her spray the windshield wiper fluid with it squirting on high.

Then I’m going to make you STAND UP for the next six to eight hours, casting about every 45 seconds or so, at the end of which I’m going to strap your butt back on top of the car and make your wife RACE home on a pothole filled road. And if she doesn’t make it by 3:40 p.m., EXACTLY not one freakin’ minute of the whole day will count.

Welcome to the pros, dude.

And for surviving that first event this is exactly what I got: A Tournament Record Angler Page.


It’s been almost 11 years to the day that my first ever Bassmaster Elite Tournament story was published. Diary of a Bassmaster Virgin” and today, this will be my last regular season Elite story I write.

At the end of this event I will have been at over 100 Elite events, 400-some weigh-ins.

Believe possible when facing impossible.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Me: “Is that a bass?”

Kevin Short: “Um, a yeah.”

The first B.A.S.S. boat I ever stepped in was pink. Kevin asked me, “Do you have a license?” I said I did.

A license for here?”

Yep, it’s good to drive anywhere in America.”

And then to the perplexed one, “Would you like a donut?”

Who knew that a guy who didn’t fish, who didn’t know what a bass was would become a life long friend, family actually?” K-Pink (I gave him that name you know).

In the entire professional fishing career of James Niggemeyer I may be the only co-helper-angler who ever fell asleep in the back of his boat during a tournament.

Hey it was a nice warm day with gentle waves, what can I say.

James: “It was beautiful nice day, the water was calm but I kept looking back at you sleeping and thinking I think he at least needs to make a few casts, just a couple.”

Yeah, and so I did, three I think and then went back to napping.

“It was in my rookie season, I walked away from that day thinking that the ESPN guy was a nice guy, I thought to myself I liked him, you know db you just never know when God is going to give you a lifelong friend, someone there with you for the ups and the downs, one day in the boat, the rest of our lives as friends.”

Another lifelong friend, one of a couple of “adopted” sons I have in this game.

How close is this sport to me, the first two people I ever met in it, are now family.


That’s how close.

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
~ Alan Cohen

“I thought you were a breath of fresh air,” Dave Precht, VP of Communications at B.A.S.S. and my first B.A.S.S. boss.

Dave has been around B.A.S.S. forever, huge angler of all things fish, old school editor, “I would have edited Hemingway.”

The clash between us was set, I drive editors crazy [Editor’s note: He does.] and I don’t really care. To be truthful I think they are a nuisance in communicating, I’ve read through a couple of boards out there that hate me, hate my “style,” and I don’t care, so what get over it, and that’s basically what I said to my first B.A.S.S. boss.

“We didn’t know how you operated, we knew your reputation, and you didn’t know us or how we operate, how our world works.”

I don’t remember the exact story, it was a long time ago, but sure as the weather Red Blob that follows me will show up, Dave and I had a blowup, I sent an email to his bosses at ESPN, friends of mine and basically lit him up about style, to be honest we both had a rough spot for awhile.

The other day we sat for a half hour at a picnic table and watched the Elites come in for the weigh-in, I didn’t apologize to him for the rough spot, what I did was say simply this: “Thank You.”

I thanked him for making me earn the right to be here, thanked him for stepping out of the way and seeing what I’ve got.

“I got to be a fan of your work, the way you immersed yourself in the sport and won the trust and friendship of the anglers.”

We both smiled and watched a few more boats come in and then, “I don’t see you much anymore but to be honest db, I love you like a brother, a brother I don’t get to spend near enough time with.”

Earning my spot here and having that acknowledged by a Hall of Fame inductee and legend in the game is without a doubt the greatest accomplishment of my career.

Bar none.

Thanks Dave.

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”
— Paulo Coelho

I want to make this perfectly clear, I AM NOT RETIRING, I’m just moving on to something new.

Sic fac Novum: Latin for “Make it New,” always make it new, the only thing I fear in life is doing “normal,” the only thing I fear in life is the same-oh, same-oh, nightime sweats of “acquiesence.”

I have written over 650 stories about the same game with basically the same people in many of the same places, I don’t know what else to say.

My lifeblood is coming to the edge of the cliff, and stepping off.

A quarter of my professional career has now been with B.A.S.S., I have written professionally for almost 40 years now, pretty amazing for a dude who failed English 10 three times and who strives to keep failing it in writing.

I love this sport, love many of those who play it, love many of those who have dedicated their lives to it and its 50 year history, but above all, my biggest love is for you.

You the fans.

You the members.

All you in the B.A.S.S. Nation.

I have two more B.A.S.S. events, the AOY event, and the one I picked to be my last gig, the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

When it ends I wanted to go out surrounded by you the fans, you the members, the B.A.S.S. Nation and the history of this here thing we call Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society.

And that is as it should be.


“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough”
– Mario Andretti