Cherokee Elite: Being there


Owen Stamm takes a photo of truck after truck all down the line.
Don Barone

Owen Stamm takes a photo of truck after truck all down the line.

“I've looked under chairs…”

Dateline: Cherokee Lake…Elite No. 1 2017

“I like to watch.”
Chance The Gardner
Being There (1979)

So, I’m cold turkeying bacon and donuts.

I look bad enough for two guys my age.

This cold turkeying is not going well. I just came back to my hotel room from the breakfast buffet with an orange in my hand.

An orange.

I’m assuming it’s not usual to walk out of the buffet holding just an orange since all the looks I got.

I have on a black fleece top and pants with one brown shoe and one black shoe.

I have never left anywhere in life with just an orange in my hand.

I’m new to this, just thought you should know, help you understand.

I miss bacon and donuts.

I’m playing catch with the orange.

Welcome to my season 10 of chasing those who chase the bass.

Buckle up.

“I've looked under chairs…”

This now marks my 36th year in the telling the news biz in one form or another.

More than half my life.

This is my secret for telling the news biz…go out and look around.

Being there and seeing what’s up.

Telling the news biz is all about being quiet and watching. All about asking some and listening more. Toss in some facts and not try and bigshot what you do.

I’m asked a lot about how to get into the biz, I always say, “Don’t, it’s nuts out here now,” and that if I was in journalism school right now I would minor in muscle car repair mechanics, “You’d be happier.”

Here’s how I do the news telling biz about the bass: I show up to the gig on Sunday and drag an almost technically hoarding amount of stuff into my hotel room, I then find Trip, Chuck and the rest of the B.A.S.S. crew and give them hugs.

Even Trip is almost used to that by now.

On Monday I start to glance at the many emails that B.A.S.S. has sent me about the gig I’m at throughout the preceding months. I try to never pay attention to much until I’m standing in it, that’s how I prepare.

After a nap or two on Monday morning I shower, go climb in my truck and go hunt up some sweet tea then start cruising around watching and looking.

Normally my first stop to be watching and looking at is wherever the B.A.S.S. stage and weigh-in stuff is going to be and that information is always written down in those emails I’m sent months ago but I’ve shortened the process some via my cellphone:



“Hey Trip, db here, where you at?”

And then I go to where he is at.

$42,500.79 in j-school loans to figure that out.

“…I've looked under tables…”

“Wherever I go, I'm watching. Even on vacation, when I'm in an airport or a railroad station, I look around, snap pictures, and find out how people do things.”

Richard Scarry

I watched a man with a crooked back walk down a path with a straight fishing pole.

With every car that passed him by he would slow his walk down some, look up, smile a grin that was minus some teeth and nod his head slightly to the right in acknowledgment and manners.

If you know who James Stewart is, you’ve seen the nod.

Every car, truck, bicycle, jogger or person walking by was welcomed by the man with the bent back and straight fishing rod.

I was double, quite possibly tripled parked watching the gentleman walk slowly and proudly my way. When he got side by side to the passenger side of my truck I hit the window button and asked him this, “Hey man how you doing?”

“Fine, I’m fine, how you?” then came the smile.

“Catch anything?”

“Yep,” another smile that would hide saying where his fishing spot may be.

“You mind if we talk some, I’m with B.A.S.S., who you with?”

“Nope don’t mind none, me I’m with me.”

“What’s your name?”

“Me I’m Herbert, Herbert Pratt the river rat.”

“Stay right there.”

“…I've tried to find the key…”

Meet Herbert Pratt, the river rat: