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John's Journal... Entry 43, Day 4

A Tournament Angler's Life On The Road

EDITOR'S NOTE: Twenty-seven-year-old Tim Horton of Spruce Pine, Alabama, has earned the title of 1999-2000 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year. He accumulated more tournament points than any other angler and won more than $200,000 in tournaments and sponsorship.

click to enlargeQUESTION: What's life on the road like for this year's B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year?

ANSWER: When you become a tournament fisherman, you know you'll have to live out of a suitcase and stay on the road if you want to have a successful career. I like to travel and see different areas of the country. I am extremely fortunate in that my wife and little girl can go with me. Having my family with me on the road really makes life easier. After you travel on the circuit for about a year, you become a part of the family of bass fishermen and their wives who also stay on the road. All of the pros' wives know each other and hang out together while their husbands fish. The life of a touring pro is really neat. This lifestyle lives up to everything I hoped it would be.

QUESTION: What gives you the biggest high in tournament fishing?

ANSWER: For me, the biggest high comes from traveling and competing with the fishermen that I've respected and admired all my life. I've always thought that professional fishermen live the greatest lives in the world, and I've always wanted to live this life with them. Now I have their life, too. Just being with these fishermen is one of the greatest experiences of my life.

click to enlargeQUESTION: And what's the lowest part of the lifestyle?

ANSWER: One of the most miserable aspects of a tournament pro's life comes when you have a great practice before the tournament and know that you've got the bass figured out going into the competition days. But, then, for some reason the conditions change, and you can't figure out what change has occurred. You can't find the bass, and you perform miserably in the tournament. Most people don't realize that we fish six to seven days before each tournament to try and determine how to catch bass on the competition days. When you invest that much hard work, from daylight to dark before the tournament, and then don't catch the fish you thought you should catch, you really can get discouraged. This low gets even worse because only 10 or 15 guys have real satisfaction with the way they fish in a given tournament, but 135 guys have a lot of dissatisfaction with their performance and a really bad feeling about the way they fished. The newspaper, television and magazine reporters show the glamorous side of any tournament from the point of view of the top 10 or 15 competitors. They don't show you the really down side of the competitors who didn't finish in that top category.

QUESTION: How do you handle the lows?

ANSWER: I've had to learn not to get too high when I win and not to get too low when I lose. Competitive fishing runs a full circle. You win some and you lose some. You can't let winning or losing affect you too much on the up side or the down side.

click to enlargeQUESTION: Who do you most admire on the professional fishing circuit?

ANSWER: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, because of his humility and poise as a person. Mark won Angler of the Year twice and a BASS Masters Classic, all in the 90s. But if you talk to him, you'd think he'd never won a tournament. He has that much humility. He's a great fisherman. If I can ever become as good as Mark Davis, I hope that I will have the same humility and down-home personality.

Tomorrow: The Tournament Lifestyle Of A Professional Angler




Check back each day this week for more about Tim Horton ...

Day 1 -Tim Horton's Leap From Fishing Nobody To King Of The Fishing World
Day 2 -The Rewards Of Reaching The Top
Day 3 -How To Get Sponsors
Day 4 -A Tournament Angler's Life On The Road
Day 5 -The Tournament Lifestyle Of A Professional Angler

John's Journal