John's Journal...


Worst Days of Fishing for Rick Clunn and Ken Cook

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: You're supposed to have fun when you fish for bass. When you go bass fishing, you don't expect to find yourself chained to a wall in a medieval dungeon to learn how much torture you can endure. However, many anglers earn their living professionally fishing for bass. Their vocations and jobs mean they have to go to work when they don't want to, fish in bad, nasty weather and endure sickness, disaster and disappointment as parts of their jobs, although most of us think of bass fishing as recreation. You may think that you've had a bad day of fishing before or fished in a really bad bass tournament. But once you read the experiences of some of America's best bass fishermen and learn what's happened to them on their worst days of fishing or during the worst tournaments they've ever fished, your bad day of bass fishing may not seem so bad.

Click to enlargeRick Clunn: Rick Clunn, a nationally-known angler from Ava, Missouri, has won the Bassmaster Classic four times, more than any other angler. Clunn, the 1988 Angler of the Year, has earned over $1-1/2 million in BASS all-time winnings and remains the only angler to win the Classic in two consecutive years. "In 28 years of professional tournament bass fishing, I'd never lost a full day of competition because of a mechanical problem," Clunn explains. "I was fishing a major bass tournament on Lake Champlain out of Detroit, Michigan. From the takeoff, I started running toward Lake Erie. I didn't realize when I was going down the Detroit River that my engine had sucked in some foam from the river. The engine would still run, but it wouldn't push the boat any faster than idle speed. When I decided I couldn't get the boat to run any faster, I headed back to the launch site. However, the Detroit River had a current that ran downriver toward Lake Erie. So, I had to come back against the current. My boat barely had enough power just to fight the current.

"I got very frustrated because I was on one of the greatest fisheries in Click to enlargethe world and not only could I not compete, I couldn't even fish. For eight hours, I was as miserable as a fisherman could be as my boat barely eked back to the launch site. I knew I didn't have a chance to finish in the money in this tournament, and there was nothing I could do to make my situation any better. I honestly can say I've never had a worse day of bass fishing in my life than idling along the Detroit River and not being able to fish."

Ken Cook: Fifty-seven-year-old Ken Cook of Meers, Oklahoma, the 1991 Bassmaster Classic champion, has won over $642,000 on the BASS circuit. "My worst day of bass fishing occurred when I fished in the 1983 Bassmaster Classic in Cincinnati on the Ohio River," Cook remembers vividly. "My elbow was really hurting that first morning of the tournament. So I took some Motrin, but I didn't realize that you're not supposed to take it on an empty stomach. I got so sick at my stomach that I was laying on the casting deck of the boat Click to enlargethrowing-up blood. I thought I was about to die, but I continued to fish. However, I didn't catch a single keeper bass. To kick me when I was already down, a reporter fishing from the back of my boat pulled out an old Hellbender crankbait. There's no way on earth that a Hellbender would have been appropriate to fish at our location. But that guy caught a 16-inch bass, and I didn't catch one. I was dog-sick and disgusted with myself. Then this press guy caught a bigger bass than I did on a lure that anyone in his right mind wouldn't have had in his tackle box or even thought about casting. Needless to say, I didn't take Motrin the next day. Without question, that was the most miserable day I ever spent in a bass boat."



Check back each day this week for more about MY WORST DAY OF BASS FISHING ...

Day 1 - Harold Allen and Chad Brauer
Day 2 - Worst Days of Fishing for Rick Clunn and Ken Cook
Day 3 - More Worst Days of Bass Fishing with Mark Davis
Day 4 - Worst Days of Bass Fishing for Paul Elias and David Fritts
Day 5 - Learn More about Pros' Worst Days of Bass Fishing

John's Journal


Entry 261, Day 2