Having been in athletic competition as a coach and an athlete for most of my life, this past week has been particularly enjoyable watching pro fishermen get ready for the FLW Championships. The 200 pros on the tour have been competing in six different tournaments in hopes of earning enough points to qualify for one of the top 48 spots this week on Logan-Martin Lake, Ala. The prize for the top fisherman is $500,000 and, of course, major endorsements in the fishing and boating industry.
It is a unique field of world-class fishermen with names like Jay Yelas, George Cochran and Larry Nixon, all who have won major fishing tournaments, including the Bassmaster Classic.
At the same time, there are a number of young fishermen who have also made fishing history like Luke Clausen who has won the FLW Championships, as well as the Bassmaster Classic last winter. These are just a few of the names in the field of 48 who all want to make fishing history this week.
For many of these guys, the previous month has been spent from sunup to dark looking for fish and figuring out the right pattern to catch the big ones. Fishermen study spots on their GPS where fish were caught; they examine notebooks filled with information on colors of baits as well as the time of day a fish bit.
To say the least, it is so much more than just throwing bait at a hungry bass. The pre-fishing time gives an angler the information needed to devise the strategy for the actual tournament. The slightest advantage created could make all the difference.
On the days prior to the tournament, all of the pros go through their boat and engine with the various support teams that are on location. These teams want their boats to win as well as their engines to perform. The Yamaha-Skeeter technicians work at all hours to make sure that their fishermen can run at top speeds throughout the tournament. Literally, no stone goes unturned when so much is on the line.
These three days have certainly been an eye-opener for me. By the way, the reason we are here in Alabama is that our oldest son, Clifford, is one of the pros trying to make history by winning the 2006 FLW Championships.