Looking back, and forward too


James Overstreet

Here is my take on what has been written about me becoming the longest serving B.A.S.S. Tournament Director in our 50-year history. When told of this I had no idea since this is not about me but about our great anglers, fans and B.A.S.S. members. To be honest it is kind of embarrassing when someone mentions it because it was not anything I have kept up with nor really cared about. What I do care about is the same thing as the late Harold Sharp and Dewey Kendrick. That is working hard every day to make the sport we love the best it can be.  

As Jim Sexton interviewed me about this it really made me reflect on the history of B.A.S.S. and what this milestone means. I think it speaks to the longevity of B.A.S.S. now for 50 years, and the fact that only three of us have served as Tournament Director. Harold Sharp as we know helped Ray Scott get this all going back in the early 1970s. To me Harold will be most remembered for instituting catch and release and totally changing the mindset of anglers, along with establishing tournament rules some of which are still etched in stone. From there Dewey Kendrick ushered tournaments into the modern era. Dewey brought about the pro-am format we are all accustomed to. If you sight fish and have to hook a bass in the mouth, thank Dewey for that rule, and there are so many other standards in bass fishing today that have his thumbprint.

Certainly on the backside of my B.A.S.S. career I can’t thank Dewey enough for having the confidence in me to be his assistant through our time together and for his service to B.A.S.S. I also appreciate former CEO and owner Helen Sevier for that same confidence and for all she did for bass fishing. To Dean Kessel and Jerry McKinnis who were instrumental in my becoming Tournament Director in 2002, I appreciate you. And to the B.A.S.S. Tournament staff of Chuck Harbin, Gretchen Sheppard, Dannette Jackson and Chris Bowes thanks for all you do. We have been doing this together for a long time. Certainly I would be remiss too if I did not give a shout out to my old B.A.S.S. staff members and friends the late James “Pooley” Dawson, Glenda Cobb, Don Corkran and many others. To the current B.A.S.S. folks, CEO Bruce Akin, and others, thanks for everything. Harold had his wife Cy, Dewey has Charlene, and I have Mary. I think I can speak for those guys when I say we could not have served in these roles without their love and support. 

In life I like to think you have your runs. As mine winds down I think our sport is in a great place. These young anglers coming out of high school and college and onto the professional scene are amazing. Listen to them talk on stage at a weigh-in and their fishing knowledge will astound you.

The 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods was a record breaker. I look forward to seeing what the future holds and still being a part of this great organization and the sport I love for several more years.

Best wishes to all!