After nearly 35 years in the bass fishing industry I had had enough. I had pretty much seen and done it all – from a beginning recreational angler, to a team tournament angler, to tournament directing, to guiding, to sports writing, to teaching and, of course, competing on the professional level. And though I pretty much stayed up with the game, the game had changed… drastically.
Gone was the camaraderie, the fellowship, the sharing (within reason) and the closeness among anglers and friends. The game became vicious with a “win at all cost” mentality replacing the “every dog has his day” mentality. Tournament fishing was no longer a friendly sport, it was a war.
I tried to hang on as long as I could, but when the economy tanked, so did my drive, my desire, and most of all, my passion; and without passion for tournament bass fishing, you are done. I was done.
Don’t get me wrong, the thousands of great people who I met over the years still mean a great deal to me, several of whom are still among my dearest friends. And the memories… oh the memories; bass fishing gave me the greatest memories of my life. But as I said, I was done.
I’ve been away from the sport for over a year now and while I miss many of the great people I had come to know, some very closely, I don’t miss the bullshit. I don’t miss the cutthroat attitudes and the lack of respect towards fellow anglers; I don’t miss the lack of common courtesy and common sense.
Since leaving the sport, I put all of my efforts and all of my energy into the other passion in my life – following baseball, more specifically, following Dodger baseball.
Although my love of the great game of baseball has always been with me, I really got into it over the past decade; and since leaving bass fishing, the Dodgers have not only become my full-time passion, but have also allowed me to undertake a new business venture within the game.
With the help of my longtime friend and former tournament statistician Scott Harvey, I created a fan-based interactive Dodger forum back in 2009. Our membership consisted of fellow Dodger fans from all across the country and even a few from Canada. And then last spring Scott and I decided to expanded our forum to include a full-time Dodger blog site called ThinkBlueLA.com, which surprisingly (well, to me at least) has become quite popular. And though I am not making much money with it right now, it has opened many doors for me and allowed me to meet a lot of great folks in the world of professional baseball. It has also allowed me opportunities that I never thought possible, such as being able to cover Dodger games from the Vin Scully Press Box (I even got to meet the legend) and allowed me into the Dodger clubhouse to interview Dodger players and coaches.
With the 2013 baseball season now under way, I have been quite busy following and writing daily articles about the team. I also covered the team during spring training and actually spent 21 days at the Dodgers spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona.
One evening a couple weeks ago, I was preparing a blog article for the following day when I received a phone call from someone who was one of the most influential people in my bass fishing career, not to mention one of my closest friends. He was not only a fellow Burbank High School buddy (Go Bulldogs!), but was also my very first cash-paying tournament sponsor. He is Ken Huddleston who, as we all know, is the creator of one of the most popular and successful trophy bass fishing lures of all time – the Huddleston Deluxe swimbait. Ken was also the driving force behind our popular Heavyweight Bass Classic tournament trail which, unfortunately, also fell victim to the crash in the economy.
Ken’s phone call gave me an opportunity to back away from the computer for a while and catch up with one another. He was quite surprised to hear that I was no longer fishing, which kind of created an awkward setting for the real reason why he had called me. Having completely shut off all ties with the bass fishing community, I was completely unaware of the tremendous success of Ken’s latest trophy bass lure – the Huddleston 68 Special. Ken explained that the lure has been so successful that he and his partner (and noted big bass specialist) Dennis The Menace couldn’t keep up with orders for the new bait.
Ken also informed me that he had hired Camden Cloward, a young but extremely talented web designer and computer guru. With Camden’s help, Ken did a complete makeover of his website and now a huge portion of Ken’s business is done right here on this website.
It was at this point that Ken caught me off guard and asked me if I would be interested in writing for his website as his senior writer. In spite of my efforts to explain to him that I had been completely out of bass fishing for nearly a year and was “out of touch” with the close nit bass fishing community, Ken insisted that this would not be a problem. In fact, he said that it was all the better because I would have an opened and unbiased mind.
I told Ken that the 2013 baseball season had just started and as such, I was pretty much consumed with it; but he persisted, asking that I give him a couple hours a week to do some writing for him.
After much consideration and deliberation, and because of all that Ken had done for me throughout my entire bass fishing career (including winning several tournaments and catching quite a few big bass on his baits in the process), I have agreed to at least give it a shot and if it doesn’t work out – oh well.
So that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am here and why you are (hopefully) reading my inaugural article on HuddBaits.com.
Let the good times roll… again