WOOING HIS WAY TO A CLASSIC WIN
It was 1975, and there was a budding pro angler working at McLean Trucking in South central Virginia. His boss was kind enough to rearrange his schedule to allow him to fish tournaments on the weekends. The local guy won one of those tournaments - a B.A.S.S. event on Buggs Island Lake - and people took notice that he beat legends like Bill Dance and Roland Martin. With that win, Woo Daves qualified for what would be his first Bassmaster Classic.The problem was, he was out of vacation days and McLean needed him on the dock.
One of Daves' friends, a writer named Max Ailor, decided to take on the boss at McLean by writing a newspaper article about the situation. Truck drivers at McLean and all around Virgina read about how this boss would not let a boy fish. Suddenly people didn't want to do business with McLean. It wasn't long before Woo got a phone call from his boss telling him to come see him immediately. The boss was not pleased, but he said if his friend wrote a retracting article he could go fish the classic. The rest is history. Daves finished in the top 10 at that first Classic, and 25 years later, at 55, Daves became the oldest Classic Champion in 2000 on Lake Michigan.
Three other times, he was within a couple of pounds of taking the Classic title during a career that spanned both B.A.S.S. and MLF (FLW) events. He finished in the money approx. 140 times over a career that included 17 Classic
appearences, one Title Cup, 5 B.A.S.S wins, 46 Top 10s and over $750,000 in winnings- none of which would have happened if not for a couple of articles in The Times-Dispatch.
When it came to fishing the Classic, Daves always had hope that his plan of attack would work, "or at least narrow it down to what's really working." At the 2000 Classic, the Lake Michigan winds forced all the competitors off the water for a lot of the three days of competition, and killed a lot of practice patterns. But Daves, known to have between 20 and 25 rods on board rigged and ready, was always poised to improvise. He won by fishing a tube with 6-pound line spooled on a Zebco push-button spin- cast reel. That combo was just what Daves needed to get the tube to "fall
straight down in the grass"- a reel that would let the tube fall completely straight and a rod long enough to stay far enough back in the clear water- and both were in his rod locker.
Today his readiness applies to the activities of a group called Super Kids. The 75 year-old Daves hosts an annual barbecue, often featuring NASCAR stars like Tony Stewart and Dennny Hamlin, which raises money to buy a bus and build a house for the mentally challenged. According to Daves, "Winning the classic was great, but I'm more excited about Super Kids."