Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hanging with BASSMASTER Pros

This past week I had a rare opportunity to spend two days in the boat with a professional bass angler.  It has been my dream since junior high to be a "pro bass fisherman", and although that dream is out of reach, I was able to live that dream for a couple of days. 
I signed up to spend two days in a boat with a pro angler.  Each day was a different chance to learn from one of the best in the world.  The first day I drew Charlie Hartley.  CLICK for more info on Charlie  The second day I was paired with Skeet Reese.  CLICK here for more info on Skeet

Pro angler Charlie Hartley and some beautiful
 Mississippi River scenery.
Both anglers were in an event where the winner would take home $100,000, and if you get 50th our of 100, you get $10,000...pretty serious money.  They were competing in the Bassmasters Elite Series, which has seven major tournaments scattered out all over the eastern part of the United States.  This week, the stop was LaCrosse, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River.  I love the river, it is my favorite place to fish, and throw in the chance to be a part of a professional tournament, you bet I had to go!

The opportunity was to ride along with these anglers while fish in the tournament.  In a nut shell, we were in the boat to make sure they were safe, and they didn't break any rules.  Being a "Marshal" as they call it has many advantages.  As a Marshall you were able to be around all the pros, talk with them, ask them questions and most importantly ride along with 2 pros for a full day.  Both anglers were very generous with information and they both taught me a lot about fishing, and how they approached the river in LaCrosse.  It was truly amazing to ride along with them, and to see other pros like, Kevin VanDam, Tommy Biffle, Ish Monroe, Gerald Swindle, Rick Clunn, Mike Iaconelli, Dean Rojas, and the list goes on and on.  It was like a dream!  I also found myself talking to Tommy Biffle for about 15 minutes on Friday night, and he eventually became the tournament champion, pretty neat, and I am glad he came away with the win.

Professional Bass Angler Skeet Reese

As for riding the in boat for two days with Skeet and Charlie, it was an honor, and very educational.  Both days, we were laughing at jokes, and Skeet and I have the same kind of sense of humor, so we were going back and forth all day long laughing like old fishing buddies.  I never made one cast, never caught one fish, but it was two days that I will not soon forget, and hopefully in the long run, it helps me to be a better angler.

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