Thursday morning looked like controlled chaos getting the top 46 FLW Pro’s paired up with their Co-Anglers, launched, inspected and lined up all in the dark. The FLW staff made it look easy, with practice comes perfection. Fridays launch left us with even more access to the anglers. Stacey King was parked right next to me as I snapped some more shots. He related his struggles on the water. He knew there were good fish, he found them but just couldn’t get them to connect. I asked if he thought the cold front was going to help or hurt the fishing on Friday and Stacey responded, “Flat-out the fish don’t care one way or the other.” He went on to say the water temps hadn’t budged a bit and it was still hot. He believed he had found the fish he needed and wanted to stay in Pool 5 to maximize his time catching them. While he felt the fish didn’t notice the front had moved in, he was very happy it had. “Like I said, the fish don’t care but man it sure is easier on us out there. Pre-fishing was brutal but yesterday (Thursday) was great. And based on the air temps first thing Friday; we have enjoyable weather once again.”
While we chatted a bit more, I heard that unmistakable laugh in the background and turned to see none other than Jimmy Houston. Saying my thanks to Mr. King I turned to see if I could get any info from “That Guy”.
“That Guy” is what Jimmy used to describe himself on stage at Thursday’s weigh-in. During the banquet, The FLW Tournament Director told the crowd of anglers there were 46 Anglers hitting the water Thursday morning and most would be sure to find a limit. It may not be the limit they had hoped for, but at least it was better than the one guy who didn’t do it. Mr. Houston brought 2 fish to the scales Thursday and made sure to tell all the fans and fellow anglers he was “That Guy”.
Fans were all over his boat in just a matter of seconds once he let out his laugh, I only managed to talk with him Friday morning because he tied up right behind me. Jimmy signed hats, shirts, and FLW magazines and listened to story after story of them watching him on TV. Fans passed on their thanks for the laughs and lessons all at the same time. Once things slowed down a bit, I was able to ask if he being “That Guy” had the fish figured out yet. With resounding confidence he said, “Sure!” laughed, and followed up with “They just don’t like what I was using.” He said he knew where they were and what they wanted by watching his Co-Angler boat a strong limit the day before. At his age and experience in tournament fishing, a few of his fans inquired as to why he didn’t just use what his Co-Angler was using. Jimmy, in all seriousness, stated that was a great idea and after his Co had put his 4th fish in the boat he thought of asking him what he was using. “The trouble was”, Jimmy went on to say, “that guy put the first four fish in the boat in short order and did it with four different rods. He was casting and switching rods so fast I never knew for sure what he was using and I was running out of rods to use myself.” Hee-Hee-Hee came Jimmy’s famous laugh.
Jimmy Houston is an icon in our sport and is a joy to visit with. Even after the day he had on Thursday, he was in high spirits and just enjoying the ability to be on the water and the attention he received as he continued to recount story after story. He later went on to ask me what it meant that his Co-Angler and Paul Clark’s Co-Angler on Thursday both managed to be in the top 5, while he and Clark finished 46 and 45 respectfully the day before. Without a missing a beat I answered, “You were great guides” and snickered while Jimmy let go of another famous laugh.
God I love this Sport.
Fishing Never Felt So Good!