A CLASSIC CALIFORNIAN IN 2009
Most of us think of him as the classic California angler, but Skeet Reese, 53, was born in Mississippi. As is consistent with our thinking, he did grow up in Auburn, California where he started fishing for bass on big bass Clear Lake- to this day still his favorite place to fish. Skeet says he caught his first bass there at eight years old, igniting his life’s passion. At 14, he began competing in local tournaments, learning how to quickly find fish and select the right presentation to entice strikes. He owned a boat by 17 and was solidifying his plan to become a professional tournament angler. He turned pro in 1997, and started by competing in tournaments all over the country. It was not long before he became known in B.A.S.S. circuits for bringing big bags to the scale. Like many anglers, Skeet’s fishing development was heavily influenced by his father, who took Skeet fishing during his childhood and encourage his development as a pro, but as an up and coming angler, it was anglers he admired, like Rick Clunn, who helped him develop the focus needed to become a winner.
What all that has led to is a career that has, to date, produced $3.6M in career earnings, from 80 top 10 finishes including 11 wins- the most recent being on Lake Okeechobee in February 2021. Among those 11 wins is the most significant, the 2009 Bassmaster Classic. He also hoisted the Elite Angler of the Year trophy in 2007. These accomplishments make him one of the most accomplished bass anglers in the country. So what’s left for Skeet? He would really like to win the Bassmaster Classic at least one more time- an event for which he has qualified 19 times. He also would like to win another Angler of the Year trophy. Skeet loves being a professional
fisherman, but it does have its drawbacks. He says that the longer he fishes, the harder it is being away from family. The bass fishing season lasts practically all year, taking anglers all across the country, and with a California home base, it is wearing on Skeet. That said, Skeet can’t imagine doing anything other than professional bass fishing. Before tournaments, he doesn’t get nervous, but that doesn’t mean there is no anxiety. He hates the unknown, and not knowing what to expect really drives him crazy.
Skeet Reese uses many fishing techniques, and his favorites remain relevant to a successful
bass fisherman. He works hard at versatility, and considers it to be a strong point. Two of his favorite techniques are flipping and pitching. Flipping and pitching present challenges for presenting lures to bass hiding in structures and hard-to-reach areas. He also views them as two distinct ways to fish. In Pitching, you hold the lure with one hand and use an upper-hand motion with the rod to pitch the lure. This is handy for getting the lure under docks and around stumps. Flipping differs as you actually grab the line, pull out a given amount, and use an under-hand motion to toss the lure. Skeet uses both with a long rod to give him maximum casting ability. These are techniques he has mastered due to his patience and lots of practice. Even considering himself versatile, Skeet admits he hates using Carolina rig fish which he considers boring, even preferring drop shot, split shot, and throwing jigs before ever tying on a Carolina rig.
When it comes to winning the Classic, for Skeet it was even sweeter due to how close he had come prior to his win. In 2007, Skeet lost the Classic at Lay Lake to Boyd Duckett by 6 ounces. The year was 2009. The venue was the Red River in Shreveport, LA. With that win at the time he
became only the 11th BASS angler to earn both the Classic and Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. But the win did not come without a significant challenge, that coming from 2003 Classic Champ Mike Iaconelli. Ike had a big day 3, improving his 10th place day 2 position with a 20-3 bag for a 3-day total of 54-2 putting him in the lead. Watching all this, Reese quickly realized he would need 16-2 to win. He believed he had at least 16, but the tension was killing him. Day 3 saw Skeet focused on a 200-yard stretch of bank where he fished pad stems with a 3/8-oz Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait with Berkeley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw trailer. At around 1 p.m. he caught a 4-plus off a stump giving him 2-pound cull- he felt a sense of potential. He didn’t catch another fish, and thoughts of losing by ounces again creeped into his head. When his bag weighed in at 16-12, Skeet leapt into the air pumping his fists. As he tightly grasped the trophy he was openly weeping from the joy- and relief. The final chapters of Skeet’s storied career are yet to be written, the next being the an opportunity to win the MLF Redcrest Cup.