Anyone who enjoys fishing is likely to agree that it is very much a family friendly sport, one that can be enjoyed from a very young age. Unfortunately, I didn’t start fishing until much later in my adult life – a couple of years ago to be exact. Now, as a fan of fishing who can’t seem to get enough, I try to encourage my kids to try fishing. Of the four, the oldest and youngest seem to be the ones that want to go fishing, and I’m ok with that. The important thing is, the other two know it’s there whenever they want to give it a try. My youngest son is starting to show a little interest in fishing with me and that sure makes me happy!
Fishing is much more than just catching, there’s fun to be had and memories to be made. There’s also the tournament competition aspect and the fun and excitement of watching a weigh in- especially if you know a little something about the competitors. I’ve been to a few and had a great time, so when Bassmaster announced the Classic would be in Houston,
I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to encourage my kids to join me for some family fun.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. In fact, the 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe was not to be the only big Texas tournament in 2017. Texas would also host the FLW Costa Series at Sam Rayburn and Texoma, and the B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Elite Series at Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn just to name a few. Now, if you’re a bass fishing fan, you know just how big the Classic is. It’s the Super Bowl of fishing. The 1979 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Texoma had 25 competitors who launched out of Pottsboro, Texas
. Hank Parker earned the Classic crown that year and a paycheck of $25,000. A lot was different back then, hey, I was only 3 years old! Realizing that I had no idea when the next opportunity would be for me to attend a Classic so close to home, I made plans to be in Houston to watch the crowning of the 2017 Classic Champion. I figured it would be a fun little road trip with all 4 of my kids. So, plans were made, a room was reserved, everything was in order….. that is, until last minute conflicting sports schedules put a crimp on successful execution. As it turned out, only two of my four kids were able to go. Definitely not how I’d planned it, but I thought we would make the best of circumstances beyond our control. I loaded up 15 year old son Jared, and 8 year old daughter Jacie, and we headed south to Houston on Friday morning of Classic weekend. This being our first Classic, I had a to-do list. I was on a mission. While at the Expo, I planned to get as many signatures as possible on a very special Pink Fishing shirt. My Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2016. She is now in remission and was the inspiration for this shirt idea, plans that I hope will be fulfilled later in the year.
The shirt had to have some special signatures, so while I was in the Houston area, I would get the very first signature from a special friend with whom I attended high school. She also is a breast cancer survivor. Tabi’tha Hayes graduated a year before I did and
I hadn’t seen her since her graduation. It was so good to see her and so very special to have her signature as the first. Our next stop was also for a very special friend from my high school days, Adrienne. You see, in August 1999 we lost dear Adrienne. She fought a tough battle with breast cancer. My oldest son was almost a year old when Adrienne passed and this was the first opportunity for me to visit my friend’s final resting place. Jacie, being the sweet, kind hearted girl she is, helped the visit by bringing some flowers with a pink ribbon for Adrienne. This visit was quite emotional for us. My kids have always known Adrienne as their Mom’s special friend in heaven. Prior to our Aunt’s diagnosis they had often worn a pink ribbon in Adrienne’s memory.
A good Texan has family in all parts of the state, so our next stop was dinner with cousins at Houston’s notorious Mambo Seafood. After a long first day, we finally checked into our room. I was exhausted for sure but despite the hotel pool’s closure in
30 minutes, my kids decided they weren’t quite so tired and needed a swim before we shut it down for the evening.
As I said, I was on a mission, so on Saturday morning we wasted no time getting over to the George R. Brown Convention Center to spend the day at the Bassmaster Fishing Expo. The expo was huge, almost overwhelming! So much to see and so little time. We had the shirt, and began by getting signatures from some of the well-known anglers. My daughter was excited to meet my friend Jamie Hartman in person and get his signature on our shirt. Jacie is a funny little girl. Very unique. It’s been said she dances to the beat of her own music (editor- just like her mama thank goodness!). A few weeks before, she had sat beside me watching on Bass Live as the Elites weighed in on Cherokee Lake. She was all torn up the rest of the evening because Jamie, who had been at the front of the competition the entire event, didn’t win. It was then that she decided he would be her best friend. Of course, Jamie knows that my friendship with Jamie is responsible for a lot of the bass fishing love in our house, but she is also very forgetful when it comes to remembering the anglers names but she does remember certain
characteristics from watching them on Live. She likes Ike because he screams and carries on, and she finds that very amusing. When we met Fat Cat Newton at the Expo, she also took a liking to him. I also think she will remember Gerald Swindle for a long time, because we watched him shave his beard at the expo and she was
quick to note he was wearing a pink fishing bracelet when he signed our shirt- she loved that. Shaw Grigsby gave her a Lowrance hat and which she took as something very personal- she really likes that hat. We spent the day at the expo and I can truly say time flies when you’re having fun. Before we knew it, it was time to make our way down the street to Minute Maid Park for the Day 2 weigh-in.
My son Jared isn’t much into fishing. He came along for the fun of a road trip, food and the hotel- this kid LOVES a nice hotel with an indoor pool. That’s vacation heaven for him. He noted that as the anglers made their way to the stage, each had their special song playing. The anglers that like the same music as my son instantly became cool. As they weighed-in, Jared did the math in his head figuring out who needed what to make the cut for the final day. I was so happy my kids were enjoying themselves. It was late when we got back to our hotel. My daughter is not a party animal, not at all. She requires plenty of sleep. But what the heck, I gave in and allowed the kids to go for another swim in the pool, after all, this was the Classic and we came to have fun.
Day 3 proved to be another long one for us. But as it dawned, the thought of being there to see the 2017 Bassmaster Classic Champion hold up his trophy had me very excited! It would be our last day to get signatures so I knew we would have to wrap it up, but I was on a mission, and a I needed another signature in Pink. There are many details to attend to for tournament organizers, and Tim Cook of Forage Lures had been busy all weekend working “fish care”- he is the Conservation Director for the Texas B.A.S.S. Nation– but I was able to meet up with his wife Lorrie and their kids at the expo. Lorrie is a breast cancer survivor and I was honored to have her add her special “Pink” signature to our shirt. Having my special ladies’ signatures in pink seemed very fitting.
All the activity of the weekend had taken its toll on both kids, especially Jacie. She was done with all the standing in line and kept asking to go talk to Jamie again. My son would listen to the announcements, dialing in every time he heard about a t-shirt toss, which he took as a serious challenge- the accumulation of as many t-shirts as possible. At one point he disappeared and came back holding a couple of Lew’s shirts. I instantly thought he might have a career training girls for the brutal bouquet toss at weddings! We decided we were done with the t-shirt toss challenge because it was time to say goodbye to Jamie before we headed over to watch the final weigh-in. Jacie spotted Jamie at the Cashion Rods booth, walked straight up to him and said, “Hey best friend!” To a mom, that is cuteness overload and will probably remain as one of my favorite memories of the weekend.
We were able to get much better seats on the final day. My kids were tired, Jacie was grumpy, overly emotional, even a little melodramatic. One minute she was crying because she didn’t get to hand out what she thought was enough Pink Fishing brochures, bracelets and stickers. The next minute she’s quiet.
It was shortly thereafter that Jordan Lee made his way to the stage. He was encouraging the crowd to make some noise. That told me he knew he had an impressive bag. I leaned over to tell Jacie that Jordan was going to hold up some big fish and what did I see? She was asleep…. during the final weigh-in of the Bassmaster Classic! All around her the crowd was going wild and she was sound asleep. Now, that’s something to remember for sure! Me being the picture freak, I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo and sharing it right away on Instagram- #BassmasterClassic. As Jared and I were laughing, we looked up to the jumbo-tron and there was my picture of Jacie asleep. That made the whole situation even more
comical. Despite the long, exhausting weekend, my kids and I had a great time. I can honestly say that as exciting as it is to watch weigh-ins on Bass Live, nothing compares to actually being there. Seeing Matt Lee go up and hug his brother and hearing their mother speak on stage had me a little emotional. Watching Jordan Lee’s dream come true was pretty special- ok, for this fisherwoman it was beyond awesome! On the way home I thought to myself that even if my kids never take an interest in fishing, they will definitely look back with fond memories of the time their crazy bass fishing fan mom took them to the Bassmaster Classic. They’ll certainly remember all the fun we had that weekend and the moment we watched an awesome young man be crowned Champion and Live his Passion!
iBass360 pro staff Misty Schmidt is from Mabank, Texas where she is the proud mother of 4 awesome kids. Misty embarked on a new adventure when she started fishing. It inspired a lot of passion in her life, and by sharing her experiences from tournaments and traveling to destination locations in the Northeast chasing smallmouth, she hopes to inspire more women to pick up a rod & reel and enjoy the outdoors. Misty is grateful for the opportunity to represent some amazing companies as promotional staff for Frogg Toggs, Forage Lures, MC Pro Jersey and is an active member of Pink Fishing.