Elite Man Caves

Elite Man Cave: Buddy Gross

Photo: Craig Lamb - "I parked in the driveway at what I thought was the man cave for Buddy Gross. After inquiring if the house next door was their residence, I got this reply from him. “No, that’s our neighbor. We live in here, too.”
What began as a 40 x 60 metal barn for boat and tackle storage grew to a three-bedroom house, with two full bathrooms, a kitchen and living room. Here is the front door to the living space.
Photo: Craig Lamb - What began as a 40 x 60 metal barn for boat and tackle storage grew to a three-bedroom house, with two full bathrooms, a kitchen and living room. Here is the front door to the living space.
Before moving here, Gross stored tackle in two rental storage units and kept his boat at their house. “None of it could fit in the same place.” Now everything fits under the same roof of the two-floor building.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Before moving here, Gross stored tackle in two rental storage units and kept his boat at their house. “None of it could fit in the same place.” Now everything fits under the same roof of the two-floor building.
“We kept adding things that made sense.” Located outside the living room and kitchen is a porch with everything needed to enjoy backyard fun, cooking, eating … and something else.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “We kept adding things that made sense.” Located outside the living room and kitchen is a porch with everything needed to enjoy backyard fun, cooking, eating … and something else.
“I wanted a lure test tank and my wife (LeAnn) wanted a swimming pool.” After deciding against building a house, they met in the middle, and added in the pool. “Now, we have both, the swimming pool and my lure test tank.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I wanted a lure test tank and my wife (LeAnn) wanted a swimming pool.” After deciding against building a house, they met in the middle, and added in the pool. “Now, we have both, the swimming pool and my lure test tank.”
Just inside the front door — and connected to the man cave — is this spacious living room and kitchen. Downstairs is a master bedroom and bathroom. Upstairs are two bedrooms and a shared bathroom.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Just inside the front door — and connected to the man cave — is this spacious living room and kitchen. Downstairs is a master bedroom and bathroom. Upstairs are two bedrooms and a shared bathroom.
The door beside the staircase leads to the Man Cave. Let’s take a tour, narrated by Gross.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The door beside the staircase leads to the Man Cave. Let’s take a tour, narrated by Gross.
“The shop space is 30 x 40. There’s a work space behind the boat and there’s a floor drain for my boat. I like collecting old metal signs and those are all over the walls.” The centerpiece of the cave is the 2021 Bullet 21XRS.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “The shop space is 30 x 40. There’s a work space behind the boat and there’s a floor drain for my boat. I like collecting old metal signs and those are all over the walls.” The centerpiece of the cave is the 2021 Bullet 21XRS.
“I spend most of my time in here.” And why not? There’s even an easy chair and TV on the wall for watching Bassmaster LIVE reruns. Behind the tackle wall is another room containing more tackle and everything you normally store in a garage.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I spend most of my time in here.” And why not? There’s even an easy chair and TV on the wall for watching Bassmaster LIVE reruns. Behind the tackle wall is another room containing more tackle and everything you normally store in a garage.
“The prints came as a smallmouth set by Al Agnew, and I’ve had them for over 25 years.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “The prints came as a smallmouth set by Al Agnew, and I’ve had them for over 25 years.”
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Photo: Craig Lamb - ...
Agnew is a renowned wildlife artist — and avid angler — from the Missouri Ozarks, where he gained firsthand experience fishing for smallmouth in the streams and rivers of the area.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Agnew is a renowned wildlife artist — and avid angler — from the Missouri Ozarks, where he gained firsthand experience fishing for smallmouth in the streams and rivers of the area.
Gross has a keen eye for old memorabilia, and it’s obvious throughout the man cave. He found this part of an old wood duck box while rummaging through a roadside antique store.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross has a keen eye for old memorabilia, and it’s obvious throughout the man cave. He found this part of an old wood duck box while rummaging through a roadside antique store.
Everything else on the walls was acquired during his travels over the years. Gross finds the collectibles at roadside antique shops, flea markets and elsewhere.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Everything else on the walls was acquired during his travels over the years. Gross finds the collectibles at roadside antique shops, flea markets and elsewhere.
“We like to stop at antique shops and find treasures like those.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “We like to stop at antique shops and find treasures like those.”
“All three of the deer came from south Georgia. The one on the left was the last deer harvested by my dad before he passed away.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “All three of the deer came from south Georgia. The one on the left was the last deer harvested by my dad before he passed away.”
Gross was in the middle of preparing his new boat and tackle for the 2021 Bassmaster Elite season. This rolling rod rack is ideal for the job, as it allows him to move the rods around to the boat, or elsewhere in the shop.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross was in the middle of preparing his new boat and tackle for the 2021 Bassmaster Elite season. This rolling rod rack is ideal for the job, as it allows him to move the rods around to the boat, or elsewhere in the shop.
This multi-functional space is used for hanging outerwear and boots, including the riding boots worn by his barrel-racing daughter.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This multi-functional space is used for hanging outerwear and boots, including the riding boots worn by his barrel-racing daughter.
“The shelf is also a temporary trophy case. I hope to soon have a good reason for a more glamorous place for them.” The door leads to the living space.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “The shelf is also a temporary trophy case. I hope to soon have a good reason for a more glamorous place for them.” The door leads to the living space.
Gross recalls a true fish story from his Bassmaster Elite Series win in June 2020 on Lake Eufaula. “I caught most of my fish on that jig and lost it on the last day of the tournament. I got a message from a man that was out dragging the brushpiles he put out, and it happened to be where I fished, and that jig was stuck in it. He sent it back and here it is.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross recalls a true fish story from his Bassmaster Elite Series win in June 2020 on Lake Eufaula. “I caught most of my fish on that jig and lost it on the last day of the tournament. I got a message from a man that was out dragging the brushpiles he put out, and it happened to be where I fished, and that jig was stuck in it. He sent it back and here it is.”
Gross lives near the site of the Battle of Chickamauga, a major battle of the Civil War. “There is a lot of history around here. Across the road from the house was a Confederate calvary camp, where I did a lot of metal detecting over the years. I live less than 15 minutes from Chickamauga Battlefield. I’ve always been intrigued with the history around here.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross lives near the site of the Battle of Chickamauga, a major battle of the Civil War. “There is a lot of history around here. Across the road from the house was a Confederate calvary camp, where I did a lot of metal detecting over the years. I live less than 15 minutes from Chickamauga Battlefield. I’ve always been intrigued with the history around here.”
Gross likes to collect antique motors, but even more so, vintage motor stands. “I found this one in an antique store near Lake George, New York, when we were up there for the Elite on Lake Champlain. It was only $35.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross likes to collect antique motors, but even more so, vintage motor stands. “I found this one in an antique store near Lake George, New York, when we were up there for the Elite on Lake Champlain. It was only $35.”
Just about everything in the room has a story to tell. Gross cut down this tree on a friend’s farm during construction of the house and shop. “I just wanted to bring some character, by adding some deer antlers and old signs on it.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Just about everything in the room has a story to tell. Gross cut down this tree on a friend’s farm during construction of the house and shop. “I just wanted to bring some character, by adding some deer antlers and old signs on it.”
Another rare find acquired at a flea market is this sign.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Another rare find acquired at a flea market is this sign.
Every man cave has a recliner and this one is no different. But Gross does more than kick back and watch TV in this chair.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Every man cave has a recliner and this one is no different. But Gross does more than kick back and watch TV in this chair.
Beside the chair is a Lithium Pros battery and Lowrance unit and receiver. “I work on waypoint management while I’m watching reruns of Bassmaster LIVE.” Gross unmounts a unit from the boat, brings it here, hooks it up and goes to work.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Beside the chair is a Lithium Pros battery and Lowrance unit and receiver. “I work on waypoint management while I’m watching reruns of Bassmaster LIVE.” Gross unmounts a unit from the boat, brings it here, hooks it up and goes to work.
On this wall hangs a mx of new and old, including a highly prized lineup of Lucky Craft BDS crankbaits, and a selection of prized and rare Xcalibur baits. “Those are all gold to me, so I keep them hanging high so everyone can’t get to them so easily,” he said with a laugh. “I just like throwing baits that are in rare supply.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - On this wall hangs a mx of new and old, including a highly prized lineup of Lucky Craft BDS crankbaits, and a selection of prized and rare Xcalibur baits. “Those are all gold to me, so I keep them hanging high so everyone can’t get to them so easily,” he said with a laugh. “I just like throwing baits that are in rare supply.”
Gross' love for vintage marine collectibles includes outboard motor oil cans and containers. These are lined up on the upper shelves. The finds came from antique shops as well.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross' love for vintage marine collectibles includes outboard motor oil cans and containers. These are lined up on the upper shelves. The finds came from antique shops as well.
All of these spools of P-Line will soon be empty. His supply of line for the season is here.
Photo: Craig Lamb - All of these spools of P-Line will soon be empty. His supply of line for the season is here.
The line will be spooled on these Daiwa reels used by Gross in the tournaments.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The line will be spooled on these Daiwa reels used by Gross in the tournaments.
Like his peers on the trail, Gross feels the need to keep glide baits ready for action. Some of his lineup hang here.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Like his peers on the trail, Gross feels the need to keep glide baits ready for action. Some of his lineup hang here.
“Here is more Lucky Craft. I found these the other day. They are the LVR lipless baits in some of the rare colors.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “Here is more Lucky Craft. I found these the other day. They are the LVR lipless baits in some of the rare colors.”
These boxes will soon be reorganized, or replaced with new baits, and then go into the storage compartments of the Bullet. Gross maintains a rotation of specialty baits, adding them as needed for a given trip.
Photo: Craig Lamb - These boxes will soon be reorganized, or replaced with new baits, and then go into the storage compartments of the Bullet. Gross maintains a rotation of specialty baits, adding them as needed for a given trip.
Another shelf filled with vintage oil cans.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Another shelf filled with vintage oil cans.
And another.
Photo: Craig Lamb - And another.
Every man cave has a TV, and this one plays a rerun of Bassmaster LIVE.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Every man cave has a TV, and this one plays a rerun of Bassmaster LIVE.
Gross called this his pre-game checklist white board. He compiles a list of the rods, reels and baits that he needs for a given tournament, gathers them together, and loads everything into his boat or truck.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross called this his pre-game checklist white board. He compiles a list of the rods, reels and baits that he needs for a given tournament, gathers them together, and loads everything into his boat or truck.
Gross has his work desk located between the boat and the tackle shop. Lots of business gets done here, including phone calls and running the business side of his game.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross has his work desk located between the boat and the tackle shop. Lots of business gets done here, including phone calls and running the business side of his game.
Above the desk are family tokens and items used to keep tackle and gear organized and ready for the road.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Above the desk are family tokens and items used to keep tackle and gear organized and ready for the road.
“My grandfather was a big fisherman, and he died before I was born, in 1970. This old Falls City Beer bucket belonged to him.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “My grandfather was a big fisherman, and he died before I was born, in 1970. This old Falls City Beer bucket belonged to him.”
On another shelf is this vintage Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor, also known as the classic “Green Box.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - On another shelf is this vintage Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor, also known as the classic “Green Box.”
Nearby are stickers that are labeled with the pound test of line that will be applied to each Daiwa reel for easy identification.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Nearby are stickers that are labeled with the pound test of line that will be applied to each Daiwa reel for easy identification.
Upstairs is a loft. “We have a lot of traveling anglers come through here. There’s a sofa bed and a place to hang out. Downstairs is a full bath, and it’s temperature controlled up there.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Upstairs is a loft. “We have a lot of traveling anglers come through here. There’s a sofa bed and a place to hang out. Downstairs is a full bath, and it’s temperature controlled up there.”
The spiral staircase was made by a childhood friend specializing in metalwork.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The spiral staircase was made by a childhood friend specializing in metalwork.
You get a full view of the ground floor from the top of the stairs.
Photo: Craig Lamb - You get a full view of the ground floor from the top of the stairs.
“This is the dearest gift that I have ever received after winning anything. So many memories.” The collage showcases work by the Bassmaster digital team of photographers, and captures his most memorable moments of winning the DeWalt Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Eufaula. The framed art was created by Mickey Cox of McKinley Cox Design.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “This is the dearest gift that I have ever received after winning anything. So many memories.” The collage showcases work by the Bassmaster digital team of photographers, and captures his most memorable moments of winning the DeWalt Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Eufaula. The framed art was created by Mickey Cox of McKinley Cox Design.
A mini-Mercury memorabilia museum is upstairs, beginning with this vintage Kiekhaefer 6-gallon fuel tank. Gross found it at an outdoor sale in Alabama.
Photo: Craig Lamb - A mini-Mercury memorabilia museum is upstairs, beginning with this vintage Kiekhaefer 6-gallon fuel tank. Gross found it at an outdoor sale in Alabama.
Next is a Mercury Kiekhaefer cast iron motor stand, used back in the day for mounting outboard motors for repairs. The mounts are highly sought by collectors, Gross included.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Next is a Mercury Kiekhaefer cast iron motor stand, used back in the day for mounting outboard motors for repairs. The mounts are highly sought by collectors, Gross included.
“This one is really rare, most likely from the 1930s.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “This one is really rare, most likely from the 1930s.”
This old Mercury outboard came from an antique shop.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This old Mercury outboard came from an antique shop.
Gross found this stand at a shop near Lake Seminole. It was outside, laying in the dirt. “I had to clean it off, and it’s just a cool piece. The owner has three, and I got two of them.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross found this stand at a shop near Lake Seminole. It was outside, laying in the dirt. “I had to clean it off, and it’s just a cool piece. The owner has three, and I got two of them.”
On the stand is a 1940s-era Kiekhaefer Mercury “Super 5” outboard motor.
Photo: Craig Lamb - On the stand is a 1940s-era Kiekhaefer Mercury “Super 5” outboard motor.
At the opposite end of the room is the sleeper sofa and hang out area for guests.
Photo: Craig Lamb - At the opposite end of the room is the sleeper sofa and hang out area for guests.
For his 40th birthday, Gross received a special give from his parents.
Photo: Craig Lamb - For his 40th birthday, Gross received a special give from his parents.
Inside the boat-hulled shaped table is a special family heirloom. The centerpiece is his grandfather’s tacklebox, and filled with lures used by him on Lake Chickamauga and elsewhere.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Inside the boat-hulled shaped table is a special family heirloom. The centerpiece is his grandfather’s tacklebox, and filled with lures used by him on Lake Chickamauga and elsewhere.
The contents are priceless, with the tacklebox loaded as it would be for a day of fishing. Nothing was added for looks. All the baits were actually used by his grandfather.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The contents are priceless, with the tacklebox loaded as it would be for a day of fishing. Nothing was added for looks. All the baits were actually used by his grandfather.
A package of Mann’s Jelly Worms, still in the package, with the photo of Tom Mann on the card. And another unopened package of Mister Twister Centipede Worms is nearby. Between them are vintage hard baits, including an Arbogast Hula Diver.
Photo: Craig Lamb - A package of Mann’s Jelly Worms, still in the package, with the photo of Tom Mann on the card. And another unopened package of Mister Twister Centipede Worms is nearby. Between them are vintage hard baits, including an Arbogast Hula Diver.
Lures are artistically placed inside the table to bring back fond memories.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Lures are artistically placed inside the table to bring back fond memories.
The corner of the loft is the ideal place for relaxing, and even sleeping on the sleeper sofa.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The corner of the loft is the ideal place for relaxing, and even sleeping on the sleeper sofa.
This is a separate room filled with more tackle and items you’d find inside a home garage.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This is a separate room filled with more tackle and items you’d find inside a home garage.
What stands out, though, is what Gross calls the “Zoom Wall.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - What stands out, though, is what Gross calls the “Zoom Wall.”
“I’m a big DeWalt fan and here are some of the other tools that I received from them for winning the Eufaula tournament, in which they were title sponsor.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I’m a big DeWalt fan and here are some of the other tools that I received from them for winning the Eufaula tournament, in which they were title sponsor.”
Attached to the lid of the tool cabinet is a special photo.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Attached to the lid of the tool cabinet is a special photo.
It’s a photo of his dad, whom friends and family called “Boonie.” “He was nicknamed after Daniel Boone, because he always liked being in the woods.
Photo: Craig Lamb - It’s a photo of his dad, whom friends and family called “Boonie.” “He was nicknamed after Daniel Boone, because he always liked being in the woods."
The wall is filled with Zoom Baits of every size, type and color.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The wall is filled with Zoom Baits of every size, type and color.
“They have always been good to me over the years.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “They have always been good to me over the years.”
The baits stay here until needed in the room next door, where they hit the road for the tournament trail. “I use every one of these baits.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - The baits stay here until needed in the room next door, where they hit the road for the tournament trail. “I use every one of these baits.”
Gross calls this “The Owner Wall.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross calls this “The Owner Wall.”
“I’m a big user of their products, and especially the swimbait rigs.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I’m a big user of their products, and especially the swimbait rigs.”
Tucked away in a corner are these special purpose boxes, including a container for Scottsboro Tackle Co. baits. And with that, the tour ends, and Gross returns to preparing for the season.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Tucked away in a corner are these special purpose boxes, including a container for Scottsboro Tackle Co. baits. And with that, the tour ends, and Gross returns to preparing for the season.