‘Boom-Boom’ or bust: Fred Roumbanis

“Celebrate the moment…”

Dateline: Last chance

“I blew it at AOY.”
Fred Roumbanis

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”
~James Michener

Always, aim higher, than the ceiling, placed above you.

No matter how tall you are.

No matter how short you are.

The ceiling, doesn’t know.

Not one victory has ever been won on a field of play; every victory is won within the heart of those who play.

Everything, is a mind game.

For many out there on the professional bass fishing tour I’m more coach, more psychologist than journalist. Be that right, be that wrong, that’s just how it has shaken out.

If it don’t bother me or them, don’t you fuss about it.

I tell them this, when I take out the pen, I’m on. No pen, I’m off. It’s an easy visual that ends the confusion about this on or off the record stuff.


Hands in pocket=friend.

When I am all said and done here my greatest memories will always be that of the friendships I made, never of the reporters’ stories I sent in.

I tell you this because for this story I did something I don’t normally do, won’t, WON’T make a habit of doing, before I wrote a word I asked Elite angler Fred Roumbanis this exact question: “Freddy, hey man I want to run this by you, don’t think it is something I will do all the time, but listen I want to title the story, ‘Boom-boom or bust.’ You okay with that?”

From sitting in a dock somewhere in Louisiana waiting for the big ships to clear, I hear a giggle, then, “No db, love it man, I am Boom-Boom.”

If he said it bothered him I WOULDN’T have used it, and to write something here I didn’t say to Freddy, there will be no “bust” my friend if you fish your arse off.

No matter what place you finish in.

“…as it turns…”

“I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.”
~Walter Cronkite

Here’s the deal on this, from Freddy: “I went into the AOY tournament needing to do well to make the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, instead, instead, it turned out to be the worst event I ever fished in my professional career, great huh.”

Me: “Why did you screw up?” We are standing on a dock looking out over an empty Mille Lacs Lake, I have my pen out, Freddy has his real feelings out. “db, I just screwed up. I put way too much pressure on myself man, way too much.”

We talk some, I leave and head back to my hotel room overlooking the lake, takes me 15-20 minutes to get in my room, hit the head, take all my reporter technology and press pass stuff off, walk over to the balcony window, pull back the floor to ceiling red curtain, and this is exactly what I see…Freddy and Mille Lacs having a one on one…

‘It was the worst tournament of my life…’

I text him this, “Call me from the last open in La.”

And so, on the final night of practice while trolling back to the dock in the dark somewhere on the Atchafalaya Basin, Freddy, does indeed call me:

“Hey db you know…”

And then he trails off.

I’m not in Louisiana, I’m a thousand or so miles away in Connecticut. I had to back off this trip to go through a battery of medical tests to find out why I’m having the health issues I’m having. My doctors didn’t want me to be an airplane ride away from home if things within me went suddenly bad.

But, I know this gig, know this young man, have walked many docks with him and others, know that he is alone out there on the water, just him and his thoughts, know this call has more to do with what I SAY than what he says, so with his permission we are going to give you extraordinary insight to questions asked by a young man within the glory years of his career, and the answers from an old man at the end years of a career.

Is this journalism? I don’t know.

I do know this though.

It’s the God’s honest truth.

Buckle up.

“…into one more…”

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”
~Martina Navratilova

“db, db, there is just so much pressure man, pressure from sponsors, family, friends, pressure man, there is just so much riding on the line.”

I listen to the silence in between what Freddy says, “Fred you want my opinion man?”


“Okay, here goes, play for Fred, play for Freddy, play for Boom-Boom, don’t play for anybody else man that’s unrealistic pressure, play for yourself, play for Fred, win for Fred and everyone wins. What do I always tell you, huh?”

“One cast at a time, one fish at a time.”

Out there on the dock, Freddy keeps repeating that one cast, one fish, one cast, one fish…

“Play the moment you are in, Fred.  If this is first down, play it like it’s first down not like it is fourth down. Buddy listen to this old dude, you only have control of the moment you are in. Get over your last cast, your last tournament, your next tournament, this IS NOT about the Bassmaster Classic. This is about Central Open #3. Period. You can’t change the past, you can’t live in the future, be in the now, play the now.”

“I try, but points wise I’m out, I need to win here.”

“If I was a coach and I saw any of my players look at the scoreboard I would sit them on the bench, looking at the score doesn’t make the score better, games are not won on the scoreboard, they are won in your heart. Scoreboards are for the crowd, the game is for you. Play it.”

“…another chance…”

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”
~Jack Penn

“db, you know at Mille Lacs I made mistakes, made wrong decisions that cost me.”

“Stop thinking.”


“It happens a lot, it’s paralyzing I’ve worked with many people who way out think things, number one THERE IS NO PERFECT. Perfect is a slippery slope that is unattainable, quit outthinking yourself.  Stay instinctive, dude you are one of the best in the world, you know what to do, do it, game day is gut day, follow what’s been ingrained in you.”

“Sort of like muscle memory.”


“Don’t think twice just do it.”


God is perfect. God ain’t fishing the Central Open. Catch the last fish, last, catch the first fish, first.

It don’t work any other way.

You want to take a bunch of time to think things out, sign up for the SAT, you want to win, go instinct.

“…at victory…”

“Things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
~Abraham Lincoln

To make the 2017 Bassmaster Classic Fred “Boom-Boom” Roumbanis has to WIN this Central Open #3.

If he finishes in second over these next three days, a tremendous finish on any account, he’s out of the Classic, will be on the carpet of the EXPO, not on the water of Lake Conroe.

I told him, “Welcome to the sudden-death game.” Then added, “How lucky for you, how cool.”

I’ve had many talks throughout the years with Fred, so after that last quote I say nothing, just sit back and wait to hear his response, wait to see if anything I’ve ever said to him, or the dozen other guys I talk to like this on the tour, wait to see if anything ever sinks in.

“I know man; I’m so excited.”

Sunk in it has.

“I’m going to, hate to use that old sports cliché, but I’m just going to go out and swing for the fence.”

“Great, as long as that swing is for one cast at a time, one fish at a time.”

Fred laughs and promises it will be.

Professional sports are different than your slow pitch softball league after work, different from that Wednesday or Thursday night peach jar derby you launch into unless of course your mortgage is up for grabs on the beer pong table.

It’s not about beating your buddy out here. It’s about beating the voice within you that says you can’t.

If you have ever accepted that you did “okay,” stay home.

Always, aim higher, then the ceiling, placed above you.

No matter how tall you are.

No matter how short you are.

The ceiling, doesn’t know.

Raise the roof Fred, raise the roof…

“…another chance to score…”
One Little Victory


“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”
~Vince Lombardi