Where’s My Geritol?

Written by Sarah on May 27, 2011

Did you hear about 20 year old Jacob Wheeler winning the BFL All American – a title which comes with a nifty $100,000 prize and a chance to win much more in the Forrest Wood Cup?

Dude doesn’t even own a boat.

He can’t legally drink.

He wasn’t born when Hank Parker was fishing competitively on the BASS circuit.

Never owned a Swatch Watch (or even the semi-useless Swatch Guard).

I’ve always thought that our sport is one that doesn’t reward youth and vigor over old age and treachery. Sure, there’s a physical element to tournament fishing, but I always thought that experience and time on the water – the kind you don’t establish until you’re at least in your 30s – is necessary to being a well-rounded, competent angler. Unfortunately, examples to the contrary abound. Remember David Dudley winning a BASS event at 19? That was way back, you might have considered it a one-off experience. By what about the late Bryan Kerchal winning the Classic in his early twenties?

This year might be the year of the youth (or “utes,” as Joe Pesci would say). First there was Cinderella story Brandon Palaniuk at the Bassmaster Classic. Then, out of nowhere, Fletcher Shryock won a Southern Open to claim a berth in the 2012 Classic. Now Wheeler puts his elders to shame. Is there an age at which anglers “peak” or are some youngsters just gifted enough to be hammers right out of high school.

The inquiry is giving me a headache.

I think I’ll go watch a little Matlock.

This blog is courtesy of Pete Robbins, Facts of Fishing blogger and all around good guy.

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  • Terry Battisti

    Watch out what you say there Pete.  There are a couple of outdoor writers on the left coast that feel Kerchal’s win in the Classic was the beginning of the end of bass fishing.

  • Jeffie Boy

    I know where you are coming from. I was thinking over the winter about how much I’d like to enter a bass tourney again. It’s been almost ten years since I fished in some of the “sixty (hp) & under” series. Then I remembered how exhausted we felt after a single day event, not to mention a two day, two lake event… Oh, did I mention that I am ten years older now! That little lake near the house is looking much better now.