No one realizes how important a tournament victory is to a pro angler until the winner has to talk about that victory. The moment often has long seconds of "dead air," as the winner tries to compose himself.
For instance, Elite Series angler Todd Faircloth, immediately upon mentioning the words "my family" on stage, has to stop and compose himself before uttering another word. Andy Montgomery exhibited another form of emotion Saturday. He could talk about his family, but when he started talking about bass fishing, he became an emotional mess.
When Tournament Director Chris Bowes mentioned that Montgomery's wife and son were in the audience, Montgomery corrected him by saying, no, the young boy was actually his nephew.
"I thought he was your son," Bowes said. "He looks just like you."
Quipped Montgomery, "He's a sexy little dude, isn't he?"
It was when Montgomery was asked to explain what the victory on Lake Norman meant to him that the resident of nearby Blacksburg, S.C., was overcome with emotion.
"I've fished one other tournament here this time of year, and I won it," Montgomery said amidst some tears. "I thought I could outlast the field on a three-day event (in the fall).
"If it had been later in the year, it would have been tough to beat Hank (Cherry) and David (Williams). They dominate (on Lake Norman) in the winter."
Cherry finished 11th after struggling Saturday. Williams, who led the first two days, struggled as well on the final day, weighing only three keepers and finishing 8th.