Do We Do Enough?

By Bruce Callis August 30,2017

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The final Bassmaster Elite tournament of 2017 came to an end Sunday in dramatic fashion. The 2017 Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair was everything it was supposed to be and more. The smallmouth were BIG and victory came as a real surprise. And the Toyota Angler of the Year, AOY, race became very tight heading into the final event of the year, the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs Lake in Onamia, Minnesota on September 14-17, 2017.

Day one saw Bradley Roy take the early lead with an impressive 23 lb 3 oz bag of smallmouth. Chad Morgenthaler held down 2nd just a mere pound behind the leader. Matt Lee came in 3rd with 21 lb 13 oz, Jason Christie was 4th with 21 lb 12 oz and Mark Daniels Jr. was holding down 5th place with 21 lb 11 oz of smallmouth. The top 15 anglers had at least 20 pounds of smallmouth, and 16th through 29th all had 19 pounds of bass with Bobby Lane coming in with an even 19 pounds. The top 51 anglers had at least 17 lb 12 oz of smallmouth. Only eleven anglers did not catch a limit of bass on day one.

Day 2 saw Brock Mosley catch an amazing bag of smallmouth weighing in at 25 lb 8 oz to take the lead over Matt Lee who weighed in an impressive 23 lb 3 oz bag to secure 2nd place. Bradley Roy had 21 lb 9 oz dropping him down to 3rd place. Jordan Lee moved into 4th place with an amazing 24 lb 11 oz bag limit. Luke Clausen had the 2nd biggest bag of the the day, an amazing 24 lb 15 oz of smallmouth to take 5th place. Rounding out the top 10 were Jason Christie, Aaron Martens, Steve Kennedy, Jamie Hartman, and Takahiro Omori. In 50th place, with 35 lb 3 oz, sat Fred Roumbanis, who started the 2nd day with a very heavy heart, having learned that his father had passed. Our prayers go out to him during this most difficult time.

Day 3 saw more big bags as Jordan Lee brought another amazing bag weighing 25 lb 9 oz to the stage and taking over the lead. Jason Christie moved up to take 2nd with an impressive 23 lb 11 oz bag limit. Brock Mosley dropped to 3rd with a 20 lb 8 oz limit of bass. Mark Daniels Jr. Jumped from 1th to 4th with an equally impressive 24 lb 1 oz limit of smallmouth. Matt Lee dropped to 5th place behind his brother. The championship field was set with Takahiro Omori sitting in 6th place followed by Gerald Spohrer, Paul Mueller, Jamie Hartman, Micah Frazier, Bobby Lane Jr, and Bradley Roy.
Championship Sunday saw a lot of action on the water, and when the anglers arrived for the weigh-in, the stage was set for a dramatic finish. When Jason Christie arrived and weighed in his impressive 22 lb limit, there was only one angler left, Jordan Lee, who only needed 18 lb 12 oz to win. This was his tournament it seemed. A man who had caught at least 19 pounds every day waited, but no one knew how heavy his heart was. As he lifted his bag and came up on stage, he knew it wasn’t his day. He had only managed to land 3 keepers that day with a total weight of 12 lb 6 oz, far less that what he needed, handing the day to Jason who became very emotional on stage afterwards.

Rounding out the top 12 were Brock Mosley in 2nd place, Mark Daniels Jr. in 3rd, Jordan Lee fell to 4th place, and 5th was his brother Matt, who had taken the lead briefly. Rookie Jamie Hartman finished in 6th place followed by Gerald Spohrer, Bobby Lane Jr., Takahiro Omori, Paul Mueller, Bradley Roy and Micah Frazier.

Lake St. Clair proved to be an exciting tournament with truly big smallmouth being caught almost at will by some anglers. Some of the best in the field struggled, finding limits but not big fish. Kevin VanDam found 10 for 2 days but only had 32 lb 15 oz to show for his efforts, a respectable total for most places, but not on this weekend.

What really struck me was how much we root for our favorite angler or anglers and flood them with congratulation when they win. I’m probably just as guilty as the next person. But when they don’t do well, what do we do? Do we still let them know we care and are rooting for them? Do we let them know that it’s okay, they will get them next time? Or is it only those closest to them that reach out? They are human just like us, they have their ups and downs. They fish for a living, something we all wish and dream we were doing, but, are they immune to the emotions we all have? How many of us took the time to say something to KVD, Shaw Grigsby Jr., Brett Hite, Rick Clunn, Dean Rojas, or even Jordan Lee? Words of encouragement are something we all need! I have confidence in my abilities, but those words of encouragement on the bad days mean even more then the words of congratulations on my best days. What do we do to encourage and lift others? Or do we just not do anything when we really should?

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