Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Darold Gleason is a combination of mature fishing talent, a big heart, hard work and endlessly hilarious one-liners. In the 15 years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him in a sour mood.
In fact, if you need a little boost for your spirit, or inspiration for what a great relationship should look like, put yourself in the presence of Darold and wife Randi, who has earned 10 pink Cadillacs as a Mary Kay cosmetics consultant.
But when Gleason found himself in need of Gamakatsu flipping hooks prior to the start of Day 2 on the St. Johns, he phoned close friend and fellow Elite Series pro Caleb Sumrall — and started bartering with ham.
Not just any ham. This is ham from their home state of Louisiana from highly famous Grayson’s BBQ, where people reserve their smoked hams a year in advance of the holiday season.
Randi got this morning’s particular pork from Aunt Bonnie who used to live in Louisiana, but now lives in South Florida, and has Grayson’s hams shipped to her. She traveled five hours to the Elite Series this week to cheer on Darold, and thought she’d bring them a taste of home.
Randi paired the ham slices with off-the-block extra sharp cheddar slices, and tucked them into a warm croissant, then transported them to morning blast off in tinfoil.
Gleason, who has caught 10 bass over 10 pounds from his home waters of Toledo Bend, ate three of the morning treats quickly, but held back the fourth for Sumrall in exchange for flippin hooks.
Sumrall, who is built like an outside linebacker, thought it was a more than fair deal. He met Gleason when he was still working in the oil field supply yard, and the two were making their way upward through the Cajun State’s highly competitive amateur bass fishing ranks.
Sumrall had a really tough day Thursday, but Gleason, who is focused on catching spawning fish, sits solidly in 29th place heading into Friday’s competition.
Surely both will have a good Friday. It seems impossible not to when fueled by great friendship, sharp flippin’ hooks, and a belly full of homemade Grayson’s ham and sharp cheddar breakfast croissants.