Wrapping up St. Johns

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Steve Bowman
But the right kind of a flurry, putting quality fish in the boat before the sun could burn through the clouds.

We’re past the first event of the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series season at the St Johns River, and before I get into my event I want to touch on Rick Clunn winning the event.

I’ve said it before many times, Rick is the reason I wanted to become a professional angler. I saw what he was doing in winning Bassmaster Classics and Angler of the Year titles, and it inspired me to try and make a career out of bass fishing. Now, after years of being on tour, I can call Rick a friend because of my career, and seeing him win again was amazing and inspiring for me.

I got to participate in a small way with his giant limit on day three. He had one of those days that an angler dreams of, smashing 31 pounds and moving from 31st place into the lead. Rick has talked several times how his sons have not seen him win anything in their lives like his daughters had, and it just so happened that his wife Melissa and son River were coming in for the third day.

Rick decided to wait until they arrived to weigh his fish, and the timing worked out perfectly that they arrived about 15 minutes before the end of the weigh-in. Once they got there, River stepped on the boat and Rick started bagging his fish – in two bags. A bunch of us Elite anglers were standing around watching the scene in awe of the bag, but really more in awe of Rick.

As he finished, he zipped up both of those big Berkley bags, and I offered to help get them from the boat to the dock. It was too much for one person to handle both or River to handle one by himself. So, I offered to help carry one of the bags to the bump tanks while River helped Rick carry the other one.

It was just a small thing really, and I’m sure that it meant very little in the grand scheme of things, but to me, it really was one of the most memorable things I’ve had happen in my career. To watch this man I’ve looked up to for so long, and whom I’ve grown to respect and care for as a friend, be so excited for the opportunity to share a moment like that with his son and to be in a position to win again was really fun for me.

Rick handled things in his normally inspiring way, even coming up with one of those wise things that he is so famous for when he said “Don’t ever accept that your best moments are behind you.” His winning is an inspiration to all of us, and to hundreds of thousands of fans out there who have followed his career; it was something I will always remember.

As far as my week, I had a decent tournament, finishing 20th. I have a goal every year to win an event and contend for the AOY title and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. I didn’t come close to winning, but I certainly didn’t hurt myself when it comes to the main goals. I’ll take it as a good start and move on to Georgetown, S.C., this week and Winyah Bay.

Hopefully we can keep the General Tire / Eagle Claw TroKar Big Rig moving ahead full steam.

Come to my Facebook Page and Twitter feed to follow me through the year.