Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

A professional Bass fishing career is not for everybody

You probably know one. In fact, you may be one yourself. I'm talking about a guy who loves to bass fish and envisions himself one day climbing into a $50,000 bass fishing rig dressed in a shirt covered in sponsor decals, national television cameras rolling while he bears down on the throttle and heads for his chosen fishing spot.

On-lookers are sitting in boats nearby, cheering each time he puts another bass in the live well.

Since you're dreaming, how about that same guy going head to head with a Van Dam or an Iaconelli during the Bass Master's Classic and at the final weigh-in, being declared the winner? His name would immediately become a household name among the nation's bass fishermen who aspire to one day reach that pinnacle of success themselves.

According to one bass fishing professional who has reached the tip-top of that lofty mountain, having won the Bass Masters Classic in 1993 and added the FLW Forrest Wood Classic plus having been named Angler of the Year in 1994, success is sweet but it does not come without a multitude of sacrifices.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with David Fritts and talk with him a bit about what it's like to be at the top of the heap in professional bass fishing.

"It's a rush for sure to have been blessed with what I've been able to accomplish over the years," said Fritts.

Back when he started fishing professionally, things are markedly different and challenges for today's aspiring angler are huge, he said.

"Back when I started on the circuit, gas was 30 cents a gallon, you could stay in a motel for $20 a night, eat a good meal for $4 and entry fee to one of the big tournaments was $400.

Today, gas is nearly $4 a gallon and the other expenses have escalated as well. That $400 entry fee is now more like $4000 to $5000. It takes so much more to fish professionally now," Fritts added.

"I would advise anybody, if that's their passion, to give it a shot, but it's not going to be easy. If you're not 500% committed, it's just too much of a challenge.

"I remember when I started, I had saved up $40,000 because I wanted to do it so badly. In 1989, all my money was gone, I'd fished all year and hadn't earned a cent. I made up my mind to quit but decided to give it one more shot. All of a sudden," he said, "I won two tournaments in a row and from then on, I've been going full speed."

Since his miraculous turn-around, Fritts, who hails from Lexington, NC, has earned approximately $1.2 million on the bass fishing trail.

Surely, the high point of his fishing exploits occurred in 1993 when he won the Bass Master's Classic on Lake Logan Morgan in Alabama. As exciting as that was, he says another accomplishment was probably more important.

"The following year after winning the Classic, I earned Angler of the Year and to me, that was more important because of the caliber of fishermen I beat out to win that honor," he said.

Today's bass angler has so much more at his disposal than anglers who started out as he did over two decades ago. New electronics, better equipment, lures et al are available today even for the weekend fisherman.

"I still use a lot of my old electronics. I have Hummingbird and Lorance flashers I still use. Today, a GPS is pretty much standard on bass boats. This has hurt my fishing because I can find stuff others didn't know what to look for. Now they can see it all on their GPS," he said.

How much longer will he remain on the professional circuit?

"I don't know" he added, "probably until they put me in the ground. It's my life and I can't imagine doing anything else."

Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.

 

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