Each year about this time, I embark on a trip to visit 2-3 Bass Pro stores in a weekend to meet fans of our show and give a talk on the type of fishing that I do. This year has been exceptionally busy so when my contact at Bass Pro sent an email with travel details, I only looked at the flight information. It was not until the day before the trip that I really looked closely at what I was going to do.
A TOUR WITH A LEGEND
Bass Pro decided that they would send Rich and me to different locations to help spread the Pro Staff around the country. I knew that I would be traveling to 3 stores that I had not been to and would be doing so alone. When I opened the travel document attached to the email, I noticed that I would fly into Mobile, AL, do a seminar/store appearance there from 5-9 pm, drive to Denham Springs, LA for a seminar/store appearance from 12-5 pm on Saturday and then drive back through Mobile, AL to Destin, FL for another appearance from 12-5 pm on Sunday which I would have to cut short because of a 4:30 flight.
I pulled up the locations on my map and calculated the distances. It was going to be a 3-3.5 hour drive from Mobile to Denham Springs and a 7 hour drive from Denham Springs to Destin. I went straight to iTunes and bought a couple of movies and some music to help pass the time.
When I arrived at Mobile, I was greeted by a welcoming staff and there were lots of fans of the show already at the store. On the way in, I picked up a Spring Fishing Classic newspaper which detailed the pro appearances, seminar times, and the hefty sales that Bass Pro was having during the weekend. I noticed that I would be doing seminars with Roland Martin in Mobile. Over the years, I have met Roland several times at Icast shows and other places, but I have never really spent very much time with him and we don’t really share many of the same sponsors. As a touring fishing pro, you meet pretty much all the other touring professionals at one time or another and I have had the great pleasure to get to know a few of them well and enjoy time with several others.
Just because I make my living fishing in saltwater now, doesn’t mean that I don’t follow or appreciate freshwater fishing. I grew up in Tennessee and watched the Bassmasters back when the "Kid from Kalamazoo" had yet to grow up to be the "Man from Michigan" (Kevin Van Dam, of course). I watched Bill Dance every weekend, Orlando Wilson, Hank Parker, Jerry McKinnis and of course, Roland Martin. Just like all the other kids, I listened to everything these guys had to say and then went to the store to buy the lure and use it in my neighborhood lake or golf course pond, always dreaming with great passion, that the next bite would be a 7 pounder just like the one Bill Dance caught on TV.
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