I’m a guy that loves what he does for a living. It’s not all fun and glamour. It has its share of pressure and stress like any job, and I’m gone from treasured friends and home about 100 nights a year. But in this my 11th year of covering the Bassmaster Elite Series tour, I treasure my career as much as ever.
The memorable moments were many this past season and as meaningful as any in my 23-year career in the fishing industry. But you may be surprised to learn that it was one week in early August, away from the Elite Series, that meant the most to me.
First the moments that meant the most from bass fishing’s toughest trail:
** It was a privilege and honor to stand on third base line inside Minute Maid Park to photograph the greatest young natural talent, since Kevin VanDam, as he won the Bassmaster Classic. Congrats one more time, Jordan Lee.
** Watching Matt Lee prove he’s truly one of the best in the world too – as he rattled off a highly admirable four Top 12 finishes this season – five if you count the post-season event at Mille Lacs.
** Helping Kevin VanDam load his 24th B.A.S.S. trophy into the front seat of his Tundra after a post-tourney interview and photo shoot with him. It was a gorgeous summer Sunday evening at the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York.
Kevin and I were the last two guys in the parking lot, and I stopped to reflect on how grateful I am to work so closely with the best there’s ever been, the gracious manner in which he treats me, and the gratefulness I have for he, Sherry and his twin sons’ family-like treatment of me.
** I was humbled to be treated like family by Team Palaniuk too when Brandon won the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy. In a small conference room at Eddy’s Resort on the shores of Lake Mille Lacs, I sat across from his proud grandpa – my longtime buddy Rod – eating a cheeseburger, and then Brandon and I sipped from the AOY trophy as though it was hockey’s Stanley Cup. I hope we created a tradition there.
However it wasn’t names like Lee, VanDam and Palaniuk that comprised a whole week of the 2017’s most memorable goodness at Bemidji, Minn., in early August.