John's Journal...


Gary Klein

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: You're supposed to have fun when you fish for bass because most of us think of bass fishing as recreation. You don't expect to find yourself chained to a wall in a medieval dungeon to learn how much torture you can endure when you bass fish. However, many anglers who earn their livings professionally fishing for bass must go to work when they don't want to, fish in bad, nasty weather and endure sickness, disaster and disappointment as a part of their jobs. You may think 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, your bad day of bass fishing may not seem so horrible.

Click to enlargeForty-seven-year-old Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, who finished second in the 2003 Bassmaster Classic, has earned over $1,220,000 on the BASS tournament circuit. Angler of the Year in 1989 and in 1993, Klein has learned that with all of that success comes some not-so-successful days of fishing. “My worst day of bass fishing was almost my last day of my life," Klein recalls. "I was practicing on Lake Havasu in Arizona, and my wife Jana was with me. Although I grew up on the lake, I hadn't been out fishing on it in a number of years. Lake Havasu is on the Colorado River and is divided into two lakes, the main lake and the upper-marsh area. To get into the marsh area, you have to pass through a big sandbar region. That's where I went to try and find bass before this tournament. "When I was younger, there was a little hidden back lake that I fished. To reach that lake, I knew I'd have to go through some really shallow water, and I'd have to get out of my boat and walk up a ditch.Click to enlarge Once I found the lake, I thought I could run my boat up on plane, fly through the ditch and get onto the lake. However, once I got into the ditch, the trolling motor buried up into the mud. I stepped out of the boat and started walking into about knee-deep water, up the ditch to look for the lake.

“When I was 50- to 60-feet away from the boat, I dropped off into mud up to my waist. Immediately the mud was up to my armpits, and then the mud was up to my nose. I realized I was about to drown. There was no way I could get out of the mud, and no way Jana could get to me. I felt sure I was going to die in that mud. I never will forget looking back at the boat and seeing Jana standing on the bow of the boat with a blank expression not knowing what to do but knowing she needed to do Click to enlarge something to prevent me from drowning. I realized the only way I could survive was to relax and think about what I needed to do. I decided that if I could arch my back, I might be able to get on top of the mud. Once I got on my back, I rolled over onto my stomach. My body would displace more water and mud than it would if I was vertical. Then I crawled back to the boat on my stomach and climbed into the boat. There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn't relaxed at the time that I was about to die and thought about what I needed to do to save myself, I would have died."


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

Day 1 - Worst Days of Fishing for Tim Horton, Michael Iaconelli and Kelly Jordon
Day 2 - Worst Days of Fishing for Gary Klein
Day 3 - Worst Days of Bass Fishing With Larry Nixon, Gerald Swindle and Kevin VanDam
Day 4 - Worst Days of Bass Fishing for Mike Wurm
Day 5 - Jay Yelas' Worst Day of Bass Fishing



Entry 262, Day 2