Daily Limit looks back at its 10 best stories of year
B.A.S.S. began 2019 with the theme of Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams., and the inherent drama of Elite tournaments backed that. There were historic catches, huge comebacks and fantastic celebrations.
There was a monster rally by Rick Clunn, a number of first-time winners and several events went down to the final casts. Jamie Hartman and Brandon Cobb each won two events, the latter earning a Century Belt at Lake Fork. Each event presented a compelling storyline.
Yet there was so much more for B.A.S.S. in 2019, dubbed The Year of the Fan. The Daily Limit looks back at the year and offers its Top 10 favorite posts widely ranging in topic.
No. 10: Media wheels churning
In mid-January, Harvey Horne, who qualified for the Elites from the Opens, was among those getting his first taste of JM Associates, the TV arm of B.A.S.S. Touring the studio, he commented that the crew buzzing around would help his climb in the bass fishing world … “All we have to do is catch the fish.”
Davy Hite, speaking on a panel with Bob Cobb, longtime Bassmaster Magazine editor and TV host, spoke about the great advice he learned long ago from Guido Hibdon. To succeed in the business, the legendary angler told Hite a pro has to catch ‘em, represent himself well for sponsors and keep the Media wheels churning.
No. 9: Lights, camera, distractions
With more cameras on the water for Bassmaster LIVE, Davy Hite spoke about the time that an onslaught of media might have cost him a Classic crown. Now, he didn’t blame them, putting the onus on himself for not keeping his concentration up for potential culls in the final hour. When he won a Classic a few years later, he used the valuable lesson of Lights, camera, distractions.
No. 8: No armchairs for Clunn
The 2019 Elite season got off to a rousing start with Rick Clunn, 72, eclipsing his title as oldest to win an event, and at the same place he set it three years earlier. Clunn offered this maxim after winning on the St. Johns River in 2016 — “Don’t believe your best moments are behind you.” He lived up to that again, with a dramatic comeback that required two 9-plus pound bass on the final day.
Afterward, he spoke of how he was inspired to take the plunge in tournament fishing. He said he didn’t want to lament what might have been, so there would be No armchairs for Clunn.
No. 7: Don’t get caught not living
Photographer of the Elites James Overstreet caused concern when he suffered an ailment that prevented him from covering the first two events of the season.
Myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease, struck him during his travels. Lengthy treatment righted him before the Classic, and as he began his battle with the disease, JO offered great words of wisdom, Don’t get caught not living.
No. 6: Hartman back from abyss
A debilitating back injury forced Jamie Hartman to get a medical exemption for the 2018 Elite season and had him wondering if he’d ever fishing competitively again. But he slowly worked himself back into health with a strict regime of diet and exercise.
Hartman had a slow start in 2019, missing the cut in the first two events. He rallied from 10th to win his first Elite at Lake Guntersville, then at Cayuga Lake in his home state, he again triumphed with a final day comeback to show he’s back from the abyss.
No. 5: Yelas makes cast for kids
Elite pro Jay Yelas is helping show the power of fishing through his C.A.S.T for Kids Foundation. As executive director of the nonprofit, Yelas works to get special needs kids out for a day on the water.
Yelas’ organization has put on more than 1,000 events, letting tens of thousands of children experience the excitement of catching fish, with one speaking her first words on an outing. It’s why Yelas is so passionate about giving kids something to talk about.
No. 4: One more day with dad
For Father’s Day, Koby Krieger opened up about the close relationship with his father and fishing. It was his dad, Quinn, who helped set him on his path to a career in the industry. Kreiger’s fondest memories in life are from fishing with his father, and even years after he passed, Kreiger’s greatest wish would be to have one more day with dad.
No. 3: Fishing passion inspires art
For Debbie Shaiper Ferguson, fishing is her Zen. With intel gathered from Bassmaster.com, she loads up her jeep to ply local waters in search of inspiration.
While she enjoys reeling in a personal best, she’s just as happy to see something that will take life on the canvas. In the Year of the Fan, it’s great to see people cast their lures in life for a creative end, because for her, fishing passion inspires art.
No. 2: In God he trusts
Paul Mueller has always had faith in God. The Connecticut angler who almost became the second from the B.A.S.S. Nation to win a Classic, trusts in His plan and won his first Elite event by it.
A proverb on his Bible app provided inspiration during the Lake Lanier event. He wrote it on his hand then lived through a cold, wet day on the way to his first blue trophy, because In God he trusts.
No. 1: McKinnis lived storybook life
An icon in the sport, Jerry McKinnis, host of The Fishin’ Hole and executive producer for numerous outdoors shows, passed away in October. McKinnis inspired a generation and shaped the world of professional bass fishing and outdoor TV. The industry was saddened, as well as all who knew him, but looking back it was easy to discern McKinnis lived storybook life.