I love to compete, especially in our local group. It pretty much takes an act of Congress to get me to miss one of our club tournaments. But there are times when things come up that you cannot avoid. One of those happens to me next month, and it will force me to miss my first club tournament in a long time.
My niece is getting married. A trip to Cleveland is required. It’s the same weekend as our July club tournament. Because we track points for finishing order in each tournament and hand out an Angler of the Year award at season’s end, I really do not want to miss the event — but there’s simply no choice.
I have only one niece, and it’s important to me to be there for her wedding day. But the tournament is important too. And with me out of state, I needed to find someone to stand in with my wife and fish the event. Who better than my wife’s youngest daughter?
Now, these two have never been out in the bass boat without me. Do I think they can handle it? Absolutely. The only thing I see being an issue is them backing the boat down the ramp. For that, I have asked one of my good friends in the club to give them a hand. With that taken care of, it is a matter of getting them comfortable with all the electronics and aerators.
I don’t see this as being much of a problem. Missy is very skilled at boat handling. She can drive the boat and I know there will not be any issues there. Lynsy, her daughter, is very athletic and can run the trolling motor for the day. She ran the boat while competing in bass tournaments during high school and had some decent success.
I’m confident she can keep the boat where she needs to so they can fish without incident. If they do have any issues, the trolling motor would be able to get them back in, or they could flag someone down from the club if need be.
My biggest concern for the girls is the weather, and the fact my wife really cannot be handling fish or taking hooks out of their mouths due to her cancer issues. Long story, but an issue we always have to keep in mind I do believe Lynsy can handle that, and I have the proper tools (pliers, etc.) to make sure they can get the fish unhooked without hurting them.
Then there’s actually getting on the bass. Missy and I have been out practicing for the past two weekends and have found some good bass in some small areas close to the boat ramp. That will keep the navigation to a minimum, and they won’t have to worry about venturing off too far from where they started. Just have to cross my fingers that those fish stay put.
I believe the girls could come in with a great result. Lord knows my wife and I have won our fair share of events on this chain of lakes, so I have confidence that the girls can go out there and get it done. I’m kind of excited for them. I would love to be there to watch it. Maybe they could video it for me.
Missy will have no trouble driving the truck and towing the boat; she’s done that many times in the past. But I told her that when the tournament’s over, she should just pull the truck and the boat into the driveway for me to put away when I get home. The boat garage is in the back of the house, and to get it there you have to run down the side of the house in reverse. Easy for me, but she’s had no practice at that.
I am excited for them and wish them the best. They’re making me proud just to take this on, no matter how they finish in the end.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.