How an angler fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series lives when he’s on the road is more important than a lot of fans might think. Good food and restful sleep without a lot of hassles amount to more than just living good. They allow you to give your full attention to the task at hand — catching bass and doing the best you can to win or at least finish high in the points.
Finding the right roommates is a big part of all of that. Over the past 10 years or so I’ve roomed with the same anglers, but they’re no longer fishing the Elites. Since he’s been on tour, Chris Zaldain, along with his wife Trait, have roomed with our group a few times when we were renting houses and had enough room for two more. They’re a quality couple, good people.
Chris and I have shared some information during those events that I think benefited both of us. I keep in touch with both of them when we’re away from the tournaments, too. Rooming with them this year was a no-brainer.
Joining us this year will be an old friend of mine, Ed Loughran. We’ve know each other for about 25 years now. He was the one that, at the time, worked at the dealership where my dad got me my first real bass boat. Ed qualified for the Elite Series this year through the Opens after a couple very near misses. I think I was as excited as he was when he punched his ticket into the Elites. It couldn’t have happened to a better man.
Ed’s lived, worked and fished all over the country so he knows what’s going on in the fishing industry from a business and a fishing point of view. I can say that because I’ve fished with him a bunch and spent a lot of time with him, too. He is going to fit right into our group and do fine on the Elites.
Another thing that’s important when you’re away from home is to have guys with different skills and different personalities in the group. I remember once, years ago, when we were at a tournament site. One of the other pros had serious problems with the electrical system in his boat. He needed help to fish that week.
I fancy myself a pretty good electrician when it comes to bass boat configurations, or at least I did until I saw Chris Zaldain in action. He impressed me with his knowledge of what was going on and how everything worked — or didn’t work in that case. He had that boat repaired in no time. Chris used to be a semiconductor technician, so a bass boat is nothing for him. It’s nice to have that kind of knowledge close by on the road.
We all have our qualities and quirks, and your roommates are going to have some as well.
Chris gets up mad early on practice and competition days. Ed watches Fox News at night until who knows when. Trait stays current on a wide variety of topics from all over the world. I eat very healthy on the road so there is always fruit, oatmeal, protein powder and other healthy food stuffed on the kitchen counter. We’re all different but we know how to make it work.
As of right now I’ve found us five houses to rent, and I have a pretty good line on a sixth. It’s all coming together. I can’t wait to get started. Being excited about the traveling is a rare thing with me. I enjoy my career, but I also enjoy my family and kids. I’m never excited about leaving them behind.
It works because I keep a couple of things in mind: When I am gone, it’s full throttle work. When I am home, I make sure to spend as much time as I can with my family while running Missile Baits. It’s about balance.
This is the most optimistic and excited I’ve been about a season in many years. There are a lot of new opportunities with B.A.S.S. that have come along with all the changes in the industry. The roommate situation came together easy. That makes me very comfortable with our group. We are going to jam out this year!