Misty Walker Describes Tournament Life

Misty Walker and kids

Misty Walker, wife of East Tennessee angler David Walker. Misty is this beautiful woman who smiles all the time and is very kind. I can see why David would pick her as his wife. David is equally as nice and smiles a lot as well; these two are a great pair and together have a wonderful family. It makes my heart smile to see such a close knit family with a dad who travels so much, yet is so close and always there for the girls. David brings Lilly and Olivia into the fishing mix and they help organize his tackle. The girls are well educated on fishing among other things in life.

BS: Misty, what role do you play in David’s fishing career?
MW: “This is a funny question; I think as a wife of a professional fisherman you wear a lot of different name badges. David has been fishing professionally since we married fourteen and a half years ago! So from day one, I had to figure it out so to speak. A week after our honeymoon we had to get to the FLW Championship in Shreveport, La. I’ll never forget the moment he launched his boat and I was left with a trailer on the back of the truck, kind of a “what the…” moment for me! I remember staying at the ramp and when no one was around, I practiced backing the trailer down the ramp. There were moments I could look out the passenger window and see the trailer next to the truck; I was so twisted. When the boat ramp would get full, I would find an empty parking lot to practice in. Things have changed a lot since then. What I would have done to have a back up camera. You know how many times I backed up to hook up the trailer and have to keep getting out to check how close I was!

Misty continued describing the administrative support, “I handle just about everything when it comes to David’s career. From his website, answering emails (he gets so many), putting his schedule together (if you ask David where he will be in 3 weeks, he will have to look at me) I keep his tournaments & appearances dates in order, stay in contact with his sponsors & send updates, place orders for him, take care of all his contract & obligations, make reservations…. I could go on & on but I have to say, David does a lot himself. Especially when it comes to social media, I know a lot of guys hire people to take care of that, but not David. He does it all himself. With that said, if you send David a message on Facebook, don’t look for a fast reply!”

BS: How does it feel being the wife of one of 56 anglers fishing in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic?
MW: “I’m proud of David, he works so hard each year to make the Classic and it never seems to get easier. With that said, if he didn’t make the Classic, I would still be just as proud of him. He puts all he has in to each tournament. We cannot look back and say, “If you would have put in a full practice day at this tournament you would have made it.” He never quits, he never comes in early, and he (David) never does anything half assed, so to speak.”

BS: When you are sitting in the arena and David’s song plays, you see his truck drive in, him sitting in his boat and he starts to step on stage, what goes through your mind?
MW: “I usually know what kind of weight David has before he steps on stage, thanks to things like BASSTrakk & the live blog on the Bassmaster website. It doesn’t matter if he has a huge bag or no bag at all, I’m always proud to see him step on stage. David is such a great speaker. Sometimes I wonder how he can walk up there and speak so well, knowing he is so disappointed in himself. He is not one of those guys who wear their emotions on their sleeve and gets on stage and talk negative, or the ones that just can’t speak well at all, I mean they talk but you’re like “just stop!”.”

BS: How well do you sleep the night before the start of the Classic? How well does David sleep?
MW: “Funny ~ I think Classic week, no one sleeps! I sleep with the help of Advil PM. David sleeps pretty well, only because he’s living on no sleep from the week’s activities and he is just that tired. But honestly, he may get 5 hours of sleep on tournament days. And he always has that one friend that wants to text him “Good Luck” around midnight that leaves us both laying there with our eyes wide open!”

BS: What do you rely on most to calm yourself and to be David’s rock during the Classic?
MW: “Our girls, Lilly (11) and Olivia (7). They keep me calm and keep me laughing. Classic week, I’m always stressed. My sisters, parents, and friends know not to call or text me during Classic week because I won’t answer. Lilly and Olivia know the tournament life and understand it. They know what it means to catch 3 fish vs. 5, 2nd place vs. 1st, making the cut vs. not making the cut, and fishing your spot vs. someone moving in on your spot. I think David and I both rely on our girls to be both of our rocks. They always listen, even when you don’t want them to. The advice they will chime in with either leaves us belly laughing or wondering why we didn’t think of that. Some of the best advice you will ever receive is from kids – they are so honest and don’t tell you what you want to hear, they just tell you like it is!”

David Walker with girls at the table

BS: Tell readers about the David Walker you know.
MW: “You know those people you hear about that are one in a million, that’s David. There is not one thing I would change about him. He is the best husband and father I could have asked for. When David is gone the girls always draw up some plan they want him to build when he gets back. The ideas might be anything from a dollhouse for their American Girl Dolls equipped with four bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, classroom, and doctors office to remodeling their bunny hutches with a yard for each bunny to play in. Lilly is in the process of designing a Volleyball court now, I can only imagine how that will turn out! David is one of those guys you can’t read, when you see him thinking you can never guess what he is thinking about. When he is mad or upset you will never know it. He’s a teacher, he teaches the girls everything – how to drive a boat, all the safety rules when on the water, how to tie knots, bait hooks, take off fish, how to read tides, how to build things, shoot a bow and arrow, how to do a back flip on the trampoline, how to change the string on the weed eater…. Because I always mess it up, and Lilly’s favorite – how to start a fire without a match! When David is home, he is outside and the girls are always right beside him.

David didn’t come up in the fishing world with a “silver spoon” in his mouth so to speak. He was born in Detroit, MI and is a self-taught angler. He’s not the guy that said he wanted to be a professional bass fisherman and his parents bought him a boat and paid his entry fees. He worked in a factory and hated it. He put everything he had on the line to fish. It wasn’t something that he said, “if this doesn’t work out, I can fall back on my job.” It was something he had to do and I think that is why he has been so successful. One comment you hear a lot is “If I was given all that stuff for free, I could be a pro too.” I feel sorry for those people because they have no idea. Everything we have, he has worked so hard for. When David started fishing you didn’t go to sponsors and say I’m a pro fisherman, and they hand you a contract – you fished and won or were always consistent and they noticed and came to you. David is grateful for every one of his sponsors and has a close relationship with all of them. He’s not the guy who would go out there and make an ass out of himself, He would never disrespect his family, sponsors or himself like that.”

BS: In one word describe David Walker?
MW: “Determined”

BS: Do you travel to all tournaments with David?
MW: “Now, unfortunately no, not all of them. Lilly is in 6th grade and Olivia is in 1st grade. We are blessed that the girls go to a great school and have wonderful teachers. They let the girls miss about three weeks each year so we can go with him. Then if spring break falls on a tournament we can go and there’s always summer too! When we go, I drive David’s Toyota and pull his boat and he pulls our fifth wheel. We have been camping at tournaments for about nine years now, it is so much better then a hotel!”

BS: Tell me how you keep things running smooth at home when David is on the road so much with fishing?
MW: “Unfortunately we don’t have any family members that live close by that can help out when David is on the road, so everything falls on me. I am a very scheduled person and our girls come first. I will work on David’s stuff and keeping the house in order when they are at school. I do a lot of work on the computer once they go to bed; it’s common for me to reply to emails at midnight. To the ones that get notifications on their phone, I’m so sorry. I always keep myself busy; it makes the time go by faster. It’s not just the inside I have to take care of, but the outside too. We live on the river and have a pretty big yard; it usually takes me two days to mow it. I did hire the girls art teacher to weed eat the fence line and riverbank for me – that’s the worst job ever. Lilly plays club volleyball, which is 45 minutes from our house so that has added a lot to our schedule, but I wouldn’t change it. I’m so proud of her and her dedication. When David is home, he does not miss a practice or game. When she takes a water break she always goes to her dad. He gives her advice on things she needs to work on and what she is doing really well at. He also gives her the best pep talks before her games!”

BS: What was it like going to the grocery store and seeing David’s face on a box of Wheaties?
MW: “Oh my gosh, it was crazy. We were dating at the time, I lived in south west Florida and David lived in Kentucky. My sisters and I would go to every store and buy all the boxes. Lilly is now at the age that she realizes not everyone’s Dad was on the Wheaties box or will be on the Wheaties box, so she thinks it’s pretty cool…I do too!”

David Walker and girls with good luck signes

BS: Most anglers have rituals they do before a tournament; do you have any rituals that you do before David blasts off?
MW: “Since Lilly was little she always loved arts and crafts. She started out putting stickers on David’s sinker box for good luck then started scribbling on paper and we would tape it up under his storage compartment on his boat. It’s something she has continued to this day with help from Olivia. The girls now put a lot of work into their “Go Daddy” signs, adding glitter and jewels. David is not a big fan of the glitter because it goes everywhere, but he would never say anything!”

David Walker

BS: How has fishing the Elite series changed your life?
MW: “David started out fishing FLW & Bass Top 150, if there was a tournament he was going to fish it. When David had to make a choice to fish FLW or the Elites, it was very difficult. Because of some of his sponsors at the time, he had to go with FLW. That was the hardest decision he has ever made, I wish I could tell everyone what happened behind the scenes when it all went down, but I can’t. I will tell you it just sucked. David continued to do well fishing FLW but his heart wasn’t in it. He missed BASS, missed the Classic, and missed the people. When he told me he wanted to fish the Elites, I was not surprised. His sponsors were on board and supported his decision but he had to re-qualify through the opens, and he did. Talk about a stressful three tournaments…geez! Fishing the Elites, David knows he is fishing against the best guys and that’s what drives him. I know we would not have some of the sponsors and relationships we have today if he didn’t fish the Elites.”

BS: Most of the time the wife is the glue that holds things together when travel is such a big part of a family’s life, how do you do it?
MW: “I would say David and I both are the glue that holds us together. He knows the girls and my schedule and we know his. We don’t ever ask each other “what are you doing” because we already know. We are a pretty good team and always have been. Don’t get me wrong it gets stressful. It seems if anything is going to break, it happens when he is gone. I have become pretty good at fixing things or at least rigging it until David gets home and can fix it. The times he is gone two to three weeks at a time start to get hard on us; especially hard on the girls. I can tell Lilly is missing him when she starts listening to Metallica or Pearl Jam. As for Olivia, she will start flipping through the calendar and counting down the days. The girls understand their dad’s job and know when he does get home, he’s going to spend all his attention on them but it’s still hard on them sometimes. This spring David won’t be home for any of Lilly’s games. The girls will get in the car from parent pick up on tournament days and first thing they ask is if daddy has weighed in yet. At Lilly’s volleyball practices I will take my iPad, Olivia and I will watch from the sidelines while Lilly keeps an eye on me to give her the thumbs up if he did well or thumbs down if he didn’t do so hot.”

BS: If you could change anything about life as an angler’s wife would you change anything, if so what would it be?
MW: “I wouldn’t change a thing, I am so thankful for David and our girls ~ I thank God everyday.”

Betsy Steele

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