Last week I talked about the upcoming walleye tournament in Spring Valley at the end of the month. As I was writing about that, it got me to reminiscing about the first tournament that I ever fished. Lots of memories and emotions came bounding back to me just like it happened yesterday.
My partner and I had been filming and airing our fishing and hunting television show for a few years at this point. The show aired on The Outdoor Channel. One day while I was sitting in our studio working on an episode the phone rang.
I answered it and to my surprise it was the program director from The Outdoor Channel. My pulse immediately quickened. What did he want? Was he unhappy with the show? Was there a problem? The possibilities were endless.
The voice on the other end asked, “How would you like to fish a tournament for us”?
I am not very often speechless, but this time I was. My silence allowed him to continue with the details. As it turns out, one of the other shows on the network was about a regional bass fishing circuit called Central ProAm Association. He explained to me how part of the contract agreement between the network and this show was that they were to have a slot open in every tournament for one of their television personalities to participate in.
He asked me if I would fish the entire circuit. Immediately I checked my calendar to see if I could come up with any excuses. Don’t get me wrong, I had thought about fishing some events at some point in time, but I was quite familiar with the Central ProAm events and knew of the guys that fished them. Many of the top anglers on the Bassmaster and FLW circuits had “cut their teeth” there and many still fished it regularly. I really wasn’t in the mindset to travel to a new lake and get whipped.
I ended up agreeing to fish the last event of the season. It would be held on Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma. Perfect. Now what have I gotten myself into?