Still got the bass, even without fancy tools

Published 8:39 am Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome back to my column, outdoor friends and family.

Scott Strickland, left, and Robert Rudzik with the bass they caught during a Sunday tournament. -- Bob Rudzik | Tidewater News

It’s good to be back. Although not completely “out of the woods” yet, my shoulder is doing much better and my mind is beginning to return to normal. It has been too long of an ordeal, one I had not anticipated going through.

I have heard enough people say that their rotator cuff surgery failed, and I am determined to get through therapy on their terms; it will not be my fault if this fails.

Last weekend, the Three Rivers Bass Club held its Open Big Bass Challenge. One of my 16-year-old twins, Robert, entered with his friend Scott Strickland. Plans were made for them to drive to my home in Newsoms on Saturday night after work.

As it is with teenagers, one thing leads to another and they didn’t show up until 2:30 a.m. Sunday! Well, after a sleepless night, and then being awoken, I figured we might as well stay up for the 5:30 a.m. show time. If they would have gone to bed, they wouldn’t have gotten up at all.

Some people may say what in the world are teenagers doing out on the road at 2 a.m., although Scott, the driver, is 18. I tend to agree with that thinking myself, but I can say that they showed up clean and sober and excited to be going fishing! Now in all honesty, what can anyone find wrong with that?

Down to the Nottoway we go at 4:45 a.m. I paid the registration fee, wondering how much fishing was going to get done by two young men who had been up all night.

No fish for the 8 a.m. weigh-in. No fish for the 10:30 a.m. weigh-in. I met them at the latter weigh-in near Dockside restaurant with a few more lures that might work.

At the last weigh-in, Robert had a bass! Hey, it didn’t win, but they impressed me in their drive to compete regardless of the difficulties in getting to the tournament.

They surely didn’t have the nicest or fastest bass boat. Theirs was more of a mobile duck blind with a trolling motor. They didn’t have live wells, but delivered their bass alive. They didn’t have an unlimited lure selection, but used everything they had to get fish. To their defense, everyone said that the fishing was slow and hard.

Quite honestly, I think I grew up a little last Sunday. Robert reminded me of similar traits I had found in myself many years ago, and they are traits I want to remember to use again today. Way to go, Robert. I’m proud to be called your Dad. Once in a while it’s okay to brag, so I’ve included his picture; he’s a keeper.

If planning to participate in a tournament, don’t let the problems keep you from it. Make it to the goal and give it your best; you may teach an old dog an old trick again.