Oneida is over, and with it another season is in the books … kind of. We know who is in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic and who the Rookie of the Year is — congrats to you all. However, we don’t yet know who the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year is; the postseason will determine that.
The postseason is upon us, and I think we added some intrigue with the way things ended up at Oneida. There is certainly a pile of all-star talent in the finals ready to tackle Alabama. I’ve certainly got my eye on creating some history, as my goal since the beginning of the season has been to match Mark Davis as a Classic winner and Angler of the Year in the same season.
I’ll be going for the title in three weeks or so, as will the other 11 competitors. It certainly will be interesting.
Oneida left me feeling a bit bewildered, as I feel like I missed the best pattern. I never found the schooling fish that many of my competitors reported and, in hindsight, may have missed an opportunity to make the Elite 12. I don’t have space to share the intimate details of my pattern here, but you can read them on my Web site (www.skeetreeseinc.com).
I’m going to depart from the details of my job as a professional angler for a moment, and change directions to something close to my heart.
At the beginning of the 2009 Elite Series season, my Pure Fishing teammate and industry icon, Ken Cook, announced his retirement from competition. I’m not sure we realize how much we’ll all miss him now that he is gone.
We’ve seen several of our sport’s heroes move to television — Dance, Parker, Martin, etc. — but never before has one who has done so much for our sport moved into retirement like this. Ken’s career has been one of victory. He proved that with six career wins, including the 1991 Classic, and over $800,000 in career earnings.
As good as he has been on the water, Ken’s career has been marked even more by his desire to educate and promote, which he did very well. He put his fisheries biology degree to great use as an educator over the years, leaving behind a legacy of anglers who know more about their quarry as a result.
He also was one of the hardest working and most professional promoters our sport has seen. He’s done a great job working for his sponsors, always presenting himself in the most professional manner. We all learned a great deal about what it meant to be effective promoters from Ken’s example.
We can only hope that the lessons he leaves behind will continue to educate and be an example as he heads to his Tarbone Ranch (www.kencookoutdoors.com) with his beloved wife, Tammy. I wish them both continued success and much happiness together. I hope our paths cross each other’s again someday soon.
Ken you’ve always been one of the smartest, most articulate professionals our sport has known, as well as a great competitor. I hope your future meets all of your expectations. You will be missed.