This photo was by far the coolest of the week and an appropriate way to wrap up the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series opener. More about that later.
You have probably heard ad nauseam about my experiences on Lake Martin. So I will wrap it up with these thoughts.
It was great to see all of the happenings and people at the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Martin presented by Econo Lodge. I grew up and still live in central Alabama. Over the course of the week I saw so many familiar faces. Anglers I have competed against for years. Fishing buddies who came to witness the action. And people who have had big influences on the things we like to do.
Former B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Dewey Kendrick stopped by. If you have fished any bass tournament with the pro/am or boater/co-angler format, Dewey is the man responsible for getting that started on Lake Okeechobee many years ago. If the trails you fish require any sight fish to be hooked in the mouth, you could call it the Dewey Rule. I can go on and on about the many things Dewey has done for this sport.
It was good to see Don Cooley who was the man behind what then was known as the Alabama Bass Trail, and the modernization of Alabama State Parks so they could accommodate large bass events. That included widening boat ramps, expanded boat/trailer and spectator parking, extensive dock expansion for weigh-ins and all the things necessary to host big national tournaments.
Lake Martin proved to be a great competitive venue for the anglers. The standings reflected two things: Omori’s dominance, and how close all of the other anglers were. The lake set up to fish to each angler’s strength. It was really cool to see the West Coast anglers apply that deep clear water knowledge to a southern reservoir. Angler after angler complemented the lake for the numbers of fish, its sheer beauty and the hospitality of the people.
Special thanks to Wind Creek State Park, volunteer Tommy Gamble, my camera boat buddies, Central Alabama Community College and of course Ed Collari and the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. Despite dire weather forecasts the fishing fans came out in great numbers. We were blessed, the predicted 2 to 4 inches of rain never materialized as the fronts moved north and south of Lake Martin.
Davy Hite, I hope you are feeling better. It was fun to fill in a little on Bassmaster LIVE with Dave Mercer in your absence.
But back to the picture above and Lake Martin champion Takahiro Omori. Garrick Dixon took this shot during the final weigh-in as Takahiro walked on stage between these youngsters who were helping us backstage. Imagine packing up with everything you own, having very limited funds and moving off to another world to chase your dream. Keep in mind, this is another world where you did not speak the language, needing to purchase a boat, a truck to pull it, paying entry fees, buying tackle and all the things needed to get started. That’s what Tahahiro did. You have to have the utmost admiration for all of his fishing accomplishments and for being a self-made man.
Well done everybody, and congratulations, Tak, on a convincing victory!