Steve Kennedy: 'Fishing Ghosts'

“We back, we back, we back in the saddle…”

Dateline: Witch's Ditch

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
— James Allen

Allow me two things here: One, to set up this story with some history and storytelling.

And: Two, to simply say "thank you" for sticking with us through these unprecedented times. May we be a small escape filled with smiles, hope and a sense of family and familiar times.

Keep us in your prayers as we shall keep you in ours.

“…back on stage making the whole place rattle…”

Now for some history … Kennedy style.

Almost from my day one, hour one at B.A.S.S., Steve Kennedy and his wife Julia were like family, as were Kevin and Kerry Short.

Many “abentures” (how their young daughter Sophia pronounced “adventure,” but for my wife and I it will always be spoken … abenture) along the way over the past 13 years.

And so this column is about a friend whom I know very well, and whom I believe is as close to a “Natural” as we have out here. I have learned more about fishing from Steve Kennedy, and I have zoned out more when listening to Steve Kennedy talk about fishing than any other person on this planet.

True story: We are somewhere at a restaurant where they serve those “mudbug” things by laying a sheet of white paper on your table and then dumping your “dinner” on top of it. I watch as everyone but me consumes dozens of the things, but I hear Steve ask the owner where he got the “food.” When he found out “local” he asked to go into the kitchen to see what color the creatures were so if we fished that lake sometime he would know what color bait to throw.

I watched Derek Jeter once handle several bats before picking the one to take to the plate.

When you are around “born to do,” it is a special invite, very much so.

I tell you this because I know ... know ... how special this lake here that he’s fishing on for this tourney is to him. Listen: “I grew up fishing on Eufaula with my father, first time on it I was 3 years old.”

He may not tell you this, but I know for a fact he has with him right now maps of this lake from 1958. “This is my dad’s place. We would fish it when I was young, and we’d have almost the whole lake to ourselves.”

Understand his quote here: “This is my dad’s place …”

Van, or “Poppy” Kennedy, Steve’s dad, is a stick in these parts, and my guess is any “parts” he fishes on. In his 70s now he still competes … and wins.

Perspective: Tiger Woods' son stepping up to the first tee at Augusta. Number 23’s son picking up a basketball. Gretzky’s son lacing up his skates.

Yeah, this is a B.A.S.S. tournament, just that pressure, uh-huh.