The Ups and Downs to Growing
2017 in Review By Bruce Callis

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As we sit and celebrate the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the jolly elf, Santa Claus, I think back to what 2017 held for us, and also the dream of what lies ahead in 2018. But exactly what did 2017 give us? Heartache? Joy? Laughter? Victory? Lessons learned? I can honestly say it gave me all of them and so much more. I have so much to be thankful for this amazing year.

I have been able to connect with so many of you reading this story and all of those I have written this year for The BassCast. I have listened to your words of wisdom and have learned that what I don’t know is everything. I have never claimed to be the best, just to be the best I can be. I have never said that I always have the right answer, but have learned to listen to others and find out where I am wrong. You have opened my eyes in ways that have helped me grow and be a better writer. Thank you to each and every one of you.

I have also learned that I’m never too old to learn new techniques or to learn new ways to work the techniques I already use. For instance, I love a jig, have caught fish on them, but I’m terrible at them. I have tried to use them more this year. I have talked to many of you about them to try and discover what I am doing wrong. So many members of the Virginia Bass League have helped me along with Bill Lewis of Diablo Custom Baits. I have had more success with a jig this year over 2016 and 2018 is looking to be even better!

The year really started off great with the Richmond Fishing Expo. I always learn so much there. I use SPRO Baits, and getting to talk with John Crews about the baits he has designed helps me understand them better. Getting to know exactly how he fishes them helps me fish them better. I’m still not great with a crankbait, but I have gotten better. Thank you John for the advice and knowledge you have passed on to me.

Another high for 2017 was getting to meet Ott DeFoe and listen to him. He really helped open my eyes to things I was doing that wasn’t quite right. I’m still not sure if I got all the information straight, but it has payed off. Still kicking myself for being tired and not going out to dinner with Ott and the others. Hopefully I don’t mess up again.

This year has been full of highs. I have learned so much by them. The highs are great for the ego and can really set you up for a big fall if you let them. I have seen my biggest bass, the one dreams are made of, and fought it hard. But then the low of feeling the line go slack for no reason. I was left drained, but I didn’t let it get to me. There was nothing anyone could do to make it not happen, to bring the bass into the boat. I could have pulled an Ike, slammed my rod down and broke it, but I didn’t. I just tried to learn from it and keep moving forward. I did not let it ruin my day!

I fished the BFL on the James River and had an awesome boater. This makes 2 years in a row that I have had great boaters. He put us both on big bass and I had just as much of a chance of landing one as he did. I know we fished one area 4 times before he finally caught the big 10 pounder holding there, I had my chance. I also got to net the fish for him and I was probably just as nervous as he was watching me. I let him lead the bass into the net and then scooped him up into the boat.

Brian Carter has been a high point this year, as he has given me both the opportunity to write these articles and the opportunity to co-host the BassCast Radio Show. Now if only I would listen to him and learn some more behind the scenes things so I can help you, our readers and listeners have an even better experience in 2018 and beyond.

My year review would not be complete if it did not include my fishing partner and best friend, Tiffany Risch, aka Snookie. We have had a great year fishing and having fun. In September we celebrated 2 years fishing together. We have had days where we have struggled and learned. We have fished new water and managed to find fish, just not the big ones and we have had days we were left scratching our head as to why we couldn’t find them or make them bite. But through the coldest of days to the hottest, we have filled each of our adventures with laughter. It is the laughter that helps keep us grounded and making every trip amazing. And we are looking forward to 2018 being an even better year of fun.

As I look towards 2018, I see so many adventures awaiting me with some amazing people and companies. The Richmond Fishing Expo is right around the corner, January 19-21, 2018. I can’t wait to see so many of you there. And I am looking forward to the 2018 Bassmaster Classic, it will be my first time attending. I can’t wait to let you know and bring you into my adventure. And then there is the fishing. Snookie and I have so much planned for this year, to help bring laughter to you that follow us. And then the BFL tournaments. I’m hoping to land some sponsors that will help me pay to be able to fish the entire season. This new year is full of so much hope that all of my adventures will not fit here. Cast for Kids on the James River, Free Kids Fishing Day, Go Wild, and everything in between.

Now what is the biggest hope you have for 2018? One person that leaves a comment on this article on the website (scroll down to leave a comment) will have a surprise package sent to them. I haven’t decided how big it will be, but it will be awesome! Once the Richmond Fishing Expo ends, I will pick a random winner. Who will it be??


  1. Great article. I also have meet although not in person several good people in the NBL and Virginia Bass League.
    Good luck in 2018 and fish on.

  2. Good stuff Bruce. Good luck to you. I follow in IG and read your morning posts as part of morning Devo. Inspirational writing. The Boy and I are planning a Spring Break Fishing roadie. Your area is on the list of possible places. If we head that way I’ll message for some pointers. Keep fishing, writing, praying.

  3. I’ve been following you for a few years now. I have enjoyed watching BASSCAST grow. I hope you get all the sponsorships you all need. Hoping this year is a most productive one for You, Brian and Snookie. Keep the advice and great fishing stories coming. Have a Very Happy New Year.

  4. Bruce nice article. I agree the year has had it’s ups and down, hopefully more ups for everyone. You are right about never being too old to learn. My son has been fish on the Tech team for the last three years, I go to most of the tournaments and I learn for these guys all the time. Tight lines and good fishing, with maybe a catch or two 🙂

    • Thank you Mark. I learn something new all the time. And it is surprising how kids continue to amaze and teach! See you at the Expo.

  5. I know I’m late, but I promised to pick a random winner and that is Bruce Burr. I will message Bruce and send him out an AWESOME prize pack.


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