Brides, Babies, and Bassín
Helpful Hints for the Aspiring Young Angler with a Young Family
By: Douglas Detherow
Brides, Babies and Bassín!! CAUTION if not
handled carefully this mixture can be more volatile than
nitroglycerin. Our women want us at home and children need us
there, yet we spend seemingly every free moment on the water either
pre-fishing or competing. Mother-in-law is constantly adding
pressure by spouting out very non-supportive gestures, and your
buddies that are at home mowing the lawn on Saturday wonder how you
get away with it?? Gentlemen, the competition between family and
serious tournament fishing is rarely a win-win, on our part anyhow,
but by minding these simple yet effective details at home we can
keep the situation from becoming a lose-lose.
The scenario is common among many anglers
throughout the state, a young family at home while youíre out on the
water trying to stake your claim to tournament success among this
stateís elite anglers. In this state, if you plan on being
competitive, you have to be dedicated. Oklahoma Bass fishermen are
viewed as some of the best in the country. If you read any BASS or
FLW results page you will always see a couple Okies near the top and
several scattered throughout the checks listing. This, in large
part is a byproduct of the diverse bodies of water we are blessed
with here in this great state preparing our anglers for conditions
to be faced throughout the country. Needless to say, these boys are
serious about theyíre bassín! Especially with the big purses up for
grabs as of late, and unless you want to give them your hard earned
money every time you enter a tournament, you have to be serious as
well. For a young angler lacking 30 years experience on the lakes
around here, there is only one way to even the odds, and that is to
spend as much time on the water before a tournament as possible.
That means time away from home.
Letís just get this out of the way now, WITHOUT
THE SUPPORT OF YOUR FAMILY IT WILL NEVER WORK!! The first person
those guys thank on T.V. that just won a million bucks in a
tournament after struggling for the last twenty years, is their
wives! There is good reason for that.
Your wife loves you and wants you to be who you
want to be, but you have to remember to be real and understand that
you also have to be who she wants you to be! That is a husband that
puts her, her wants, her needs, her children, her home, her budget,
and her hair appointment above all else on your priority list. A
tricky proposition considering that youíre supposed to be fishing
every weekend between the months of February and October. During
the past couple years, weíve been giving the bass and ourselves a
break during July and August. So letís see.. That leaves November,
December, January, July and AugustÖ.5 months out of 12 that are not
spent fishing. These are really the key months to your survival on
the tournament trail.
July and August are too hot to fish anyway so
take the wife and kids out boating and swimming. Let them enjoy the
big boat that sets in their yard all year. Iím not going to say put
skiís in the bass boat, (considered a sacrilege by many bassín
purest! Myself included!), but I think that a tube is acceptable for
the kids sake, as long as you stay way back in a cove so that no one
will see you. All kidding aside, let them reap some rewards from
the boat. Make it their boat too!
I like to refer to the months of November,
December, and January, as Honey-Do season. With the mild winters we
have here, you can get a lot done around the house, inside and out,
during these months.
Nothing like a remodeled room, and some fresh
landscape work to get February off with a bang, sheíll be too busy
decorating and ordering new plants to even notice fishing season is
here again. If youíre really good, you might be able to also slip a
little duck hunting in during these months, to provide table fare
for the holiday dinners of course. Iíve found some really good
bassín water while in waders blowing a duck call in December and
January but she doesnít need to know all the details. These hints
cover the broad spectrum of the yearly plan, but as you all know,
sheíll be bored with that new room and those flower beds about 15
minutes after she gets them the way she wants them. That is usually
about February 2nd when she discovers youíve reclaimed
the boat as yours and have disappeared. Weíre going to need a more
focused weekly plan to keep the boat in the water and the home
Letís see, weekends are out of the question,
and my partner is single and seems to have a jackpot lined for every
night of the week, so what to do?? We have kid activities, maintain
a 2 acre yard, 4 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, a Pot Bellied Pig,
chickens, ducks, bunnies, cats, and some things Iím sure I havenít
even discovered yet that need taken care of. Not to mention trying
to keep the house in one piece! That is a lot to do and fish much!
Also you gotta understand that she is far too busy with all the
stuff inside the house to take up your slack. After all you want
your tournament shirt pressed for Saturday right? I recommend no
more than one jackpot during the week. I know itís hard to let your
partner fish with someone else, but be a big boy and take one for
the greater good. Maybe you can get in two jackpots, on the weeks
you can get your stuff done before six on Friday. Weeknights are
for keeping the piece. Go to games, mow the yard, walk the dogs,
watch a movie and get enough smoochin in to keep her content till
you get back Sunday night.
For you guys that are single bassaholics, PAY
ATTENTION!!! Be very careful in the selection of you wife to be.
Put her through the gauntlet before you say,Ē I DO!Ē and youíve got
smooth water ahead. If you go into marriage before showing her what
sheís really in for, call me cause youíll be offering a good deal on
that Bass Boat you used to hold so dear. Make sure she stuck by you
through at least a couple of seasons before you go to slippin on
that 4/0 Mustad you bent so carefully into a ring for her during the
Pre tournament meeting.
The babies are easy. They love you
regardless. The kids, as long as you made the baseball game and the
dance recital during the week, are good to go. It is still smart
however, to make them part of your fishing since it is such a big
part of your life. They are the next generation and it is our job
to pass this great heritage down to them. TAKE THEM FISHING! Because
remember, theyíll be off for summer vacations in the future and can
pre-fish for you while youíre stuck at the office during the week.
The kids love to help. I make my
pre-tournament ritual of re-spooling and bait selection a group
event. The beauty of kids is that as long as they are involved with
you, they will really take the most medial of tasks and turn it into
a grand event. They love holding the screwdriver through the spool
as I wind the line onto the reel. I also always let them pick out
the lures I tie on before heading to the tournament. You know, ďThe
one that will catch the big fish Daddy!Ē Of course I quickly retie
upon arrival, but they feel theyíve had a part in the process and
even though Iím gone fishin, we did it together.
The little rascals love weigh-ins! Invite the
family to partake in the fruits of all your labors on the water. Of
course if youíve blanked, the last thing you want is your son or
daughter standing there tugging at your pant leg asking you why that
guy has fish and you donít, so wait until youíve caught some fish
and then call them on the cell phone and extend an invitation. Take
them on stage with you to weigh the fish and they will look forward
those moments forever.
NOTE* All of the kid tactics mentioned above
also score BIG points with momma!!!
Hopefully these tricks of the trade will help a
few of you younger guys with families like myself, maintain that
intricate balance between a happy home to return to after a long
weekend on the water, and an empty tent in a city park because your
ex wife and her non-fishing new husband are living in your house.
We can have both the fish and eat it too, but we have to keep in
mind that our ability to enjoy our passions in life outside of the
home depend solely on our ability to recognize the fact that we are
only really there because they allow it. Oh and one other thing,
always remember to tie all those lures the kids picked out for you
back on before unloading your rods. Believe me they will notice!