Monday, February 23, 2015

The Bassmaster Classic in Greenville

When we got married a bunch of our friends chipped in and bought us a boat. I’m totally serious, Roberts and I are boat owners. We’ve got one of those floating keyrings and everything. That the fishing boat is currently in Michigan, the Great Lake State is a big fish story for another day, but my point is, our friends knew something about us. And that’s that we love to fish.

A Gaŗezers musky

Of course there’s been less fishing the last years, but that doesn’t diminish the feeling of a tug on the line after a perfect cast. Roberts used to keep a tackle box in the trunk of his car “just in case.” And my best present to him while I was living in Georgia and working for the Fish & Wildlife Service was knowing which local lakes and ponds were likely to be hottest on opening day. For me it was more about the solitude; I loved having an excuse to get out on the lake in the early morning hours with a travel mug of coffee and a cooler, taking advantage of the coolest temperatures of the day and watching the fog rise from the lake. Which is probably a good thing, as I never caught much.

Me with a rare catch - a Piedmont NWR largemouth bass

It’s been a no-brainer to hand a fishing pole to the boys during our summer trips to Gaŗezers, and they’ve already spent hours out on the pier with vecmamma Aija and their cousins, patiently practicing their cast and even catching a few fish. These days Lauris is proudly wearing the kids fishing tournament t-shirt I sent my godson Imants back when I was working for the Fish & Wildlife Service, which has traveled the full circle and now fits him perfectly. I expect that I’ll have another fisherman in Vilis, as he’ll want to join his brothers as soon as he can wobble after them. In fact, I look forward to the days when the boys are old enough (know how to swim and can bait their own hook) to take fishing trips as a family.

So what brings about this trip down memory creek? This weekend bass fishing’s famous Bassmaster Classic was in town! The 2015 Geico Bassmaster Classic (presented by GoPro) started Friday, with a daily launch on Lake Hartwell, the expo at the TD Convention Center and a daily weigh-in at the Bon Secours Wellness Area. The weather made for some interesting fishing, as cold temperatures, rain and sleet delayed start times and provided unusual conditions. After Sunday’s weigh-in Upstate native Casey Ashley emerged victorious with a total weight of 50.1 pounds – four pounds (and $255,000) more than runner-up Bobby Lane.

Casey Ashley at Sunday's weigh-in (source here)

We didn’t make it out to Anderson for the morning launch, but we headed to the expo on Saturday. The place was packed, traffic spilling out onto Pleasantburg Rd. and people lining up for trials and freebies. Honestly, it was pure madness navigating the expo with the boys, but on the other hand they scored some great new gear to try out this summer.

The Bassmaster Classic expo (source here)

We had the best of intentions to attend one of the daily weigh-ins, but skipped it upon seeing the crowds waiting for the doors to open. From the online pictures it looks like the place was packed and we made the right choice. However, the Classic has reminded me how much I miss all of it: being out on the water, the thrill of that first tug, releasing the catch and watching it swim away… As the temperatures warm up I’m already researching a few places to try our luck, and Roberts will soon get the assignment of sorting out the boys’ poles and gear – as I know he’s got his ready to go!

Launch on Lake Hartwell (source here)

For the Greenville Bassmaster Classic website click here
The official 2015 Bassmaster Classic website is here
          (In particular, the photo albums from the action out on the lake like this one)

The boys and Miss SC, Lanie Hudson at the expo


  1. Love that old photo of Roberts! I, too, have spent quite a bit of time fishing off that same pier in Garezers. Ahh, the memories...

    1. I'm partial to that photo as well. It's actually hanging at his parents house, and this is a photo of a photo, but big fish, serious boy :) Yep, the memories... I hope to get out on the lake at some point this summer.

    2. I also recall receiving the email from Matiss re: gifting the boat, but it was too late - I'd already purchased a gift for you!


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