SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan. — “Never quit. Never surrender.”
That is the motto Jerad Chvatal heard from his uncle, Brad Samuelson, whenever they fished a tournament together.
“He was the type who, if there was 5 minutes left in the tournament and we needed one more fish, we were going to sit there and fish 4 of those last 5 minutes right by the weigh-in,” Chvatal said.
Samuelson adhered to the same motto in his fight against small cell carcinoma, but he lost his battle to cancer April 4 at the age of 55. According to Chvatal, Samuelson was diagnosed with the cancer more than a year ago.
“He beat it and then it came back,” Chvatal said. “Then at the end of December, the doctors told us he had two weeks to live.”
The Shawnee Mission, Kan., angler joined the Great Plains Bassmasters of Lincoln, Neb., four years ago and has fished in the Nebraska B.A.S.S. Nation state championship every year. Samuelson qualified through the state championship last year for the Nebraska state team that competed in the 2014 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional at Lake Eufaula, Okla., where he finished 23rd overall and third on his team.
“Brad was a very good stick,” said Kenny Wasmund, a fellow club member and close friend of Samuelson’s for 35 years. “When he got on a jig bite, he was totally dialed in. That seemed to be his go-to bait. If he got on a jig bite and was in the zone, I don’t think most guys would want to fish behind him with a jig.”
Wasmund noted the Central Divisional was the last B.A.S.S. Nation event Samuelson fished, but he was determined to get back on the water.
“I think he was really trying to gear up to fish the state tournament at Truman Lake,” Wasmund said of the April 12-17 tournament.
With his “never-quit, never-surrender” mindset, Samuelson gave it his best shot to compete at the Nebraska B.A.S.S. Nation state championship again this year, but he just ran out of time.
He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Kim; children Joe, Nick and Krissa; and three grandchildren.