Bass Anglers are superstitious; it’s a fact! Even greats like KVD have their good luck charms; everyone wants KVD’s cookies. Well I guess I’m no different. I was sitting around dreaming about how I’m going attack the American Bass Anglers National Championship in October. Several things when through my mind, tackle I’ll need, research I should be doing instead of thinking about it, wondering about what the weather will be, and it hit me almost to the point of an anxiety attack. My heart started racing, I started getting clammy, sweating, even sick to my stomach; what brought all this on. Where’s my hat?
She’s not pretty. Sun faded, sweat stained, rust, blood, smells like bait fish, but she’s my ticket to the winners circle. While she doesn’t get the pride of showing off, my fishing hat is like an old dog always in the back ground to make sure I have a perfect day! You see, my fishing hat stays in the boat, she doesn’t get to be worn around town, she doesn’t get to show off while we are all at registration in the mornings and she doesn’t even get to go to weigh ins. But she knows that when the Mercury Pro XS fires off, it’s her turn. Her turn to boost confidence, take the punishment of a missed fish, cool my head on a hot day, or keep the rain out of my eyes. My fishing hat is my buddy, the one that keeps me going on the bad days.
All year she’s been crammed in rod lockers and boat compartments, blown into lakes, thrown at the floor of the boat and stepped on, cussed and fussed at, swung at wasps and bees, yet just like a good hunting dog that hears a shotgun blast, my hat jumps at the call of bass fishing, especially tournament bass fishing!
I’ve had the same fishing hat for quite some time now. I can’t tell you how old she is for sure, but I can tell you that she is a huge part of my confidence on the water. You see, back several years ago, she was already getting pretty rugged. Everyone would harass me about how ugly she was. When they would say something, I’d take her off my head reshape her bill a little bit and tell her, “they were just jealous” and not to listen to them. I was flying down the lake one morning during tournament blast off, and she blew out of the boat. I hesitated for a second, but something told me to turn around and get her. Soaking wet I threaded her around the throttle and headed to my morning spot. Two hours into the tournament I hadn’t boated a fish and the sun was up and getting bright. So I go get her from around the throttle and while re-shaping her bill I ask her, “did you like your bath? I sure hope you’re worth it?”
I had been throwing a frog over a thick grass line, while I did get blow ups, I just couldn’t connect. Now that the sun was up the frog bite had died. I broke out my punching rig. With my hat on my head and a drink of water; I was off with a renewed confidence. My very first punch in the vegetation I set the hook on and landed an eight pound bass. All because of my lucky hat!
Since that day, she has been with me on every tournament. She still gets picked on, she still takes the brunt of my bad days, and she still chases hornets off with the best of them! No, she doesn’t get to go to registration and she’s put back in the rod locker before weigh in. Somehow I think she understands and appreciates being able to rest after a hard day’s work! So when you see me at weigh in and I always have a brand new hat on? It’s not because I keep losing them, it’s because my girl just needs to rest after a long day on the water.
Learn More about Mike Cork