- Tim Tucker
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CELEBRATION, Fla. Traveling partners Violette Sesco and Mary Miday are bound to get noticed during this week's Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats event at Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle.
At 81, Sesco is believed to be the oldest person fishing Bassmaster tournaments of any kind these days. She traveled from Ocala, Fla., to Russellville, Ark., and Lake Dardanelle with new friend Mary Miday, 77. The pair was introduced to each other by their mutual cardiologist.
Although Sesco fished the inaugural WBT season in 2006, this is Miday's first exposure to tournament fishing.
"I heard that she needed a companion, and I've always wanted to do that," Miday told the Ocala Star Banner newspaper. In reference to the final round at Dardanelle, she added, "We're hoping for a third day."
Sesco, who has more than 30 years of experience, received considerable attention last season as the oldest member of the WBT circuit. The former nurse said she fished her first tournament in 1978 while living in Texas.
These days, Sesco averages three or four days a week on central Florida lakes near her home in Citrus Springs. She competes on the WBT with the help of local sponsors that include her cardiologist, dentist, Nature Coast Orthopedists and Sports Medicine, and Advanced Hearing Aid Center.
MARTENS' BIG CATCH.
No, not the five bass weighing 30 pounds, 11 ounces Aaron Martens caught in the third round of the Bassmaster Elite Series' Duel in the Delta last weekend on the California Delta.
Wife, Leslie, gave birth to a baby boy named Spencer earlier in the week.
"She told me I'd better do good," Martens told the Stockton Record. "This has been a real special week."
THIS GUY IS GOOD.
No one is better at salvaging a positive out of a negative than Kevin VanDam.
Case in point: In the third round of the Duel on the Delta, the two-time Bassmaster Classic champion ran into a submerged object that tore a gapping hole in the side of his boat.
His bilge pump could not keep up with the water entering the boat. Instead of panicking, KVD called for help. While waiting for a replacement boat, he put the trolling motor down and managed to catch two bass before help arrived.
Remarkably, VanDam finished with a catch of 22 pounds, 4 ounces to make the top-12 cut for the final round.
BASS FEDERATION NATION GROWTH.
Here's another sign that the BASS Federation Nation is healthy and growing: The Newark Star-Ledger recently reported that the New Jersey chapter has doubled in size over the past 12 months.
"We formed this last March," president John Radamski told the newspaper. "That's when I got the letter of authorization from BASS. At first, we had eight clubs. This year, we have about 14 clubs that are affiliated. And we have three youth clubs, so that's 17 total."
Radamski emphasized that the goal of the Federation Nation of New Jersey is to support the basic roots of bass fishing.
"We've gone back to the original charger of BASS, founder Ray Scott and his ideals of promoting camaraderie, teaching youth and conservation," he said. "That's the grassroots of BASS."
Elite Series pro Charlie Youngers' wrapped Triton boat represents Avatar Properties Inc., one of Florida's premier homebuilders and developer of two lakefront communities.
It seems a natural connection for Youngers, who owns a construction company in Geneva, Fla. Avatar's corporate logo and the logos of its Bellalago and Solivita communities are colorfully displayed across Youngers' boat, truck and tournament shirt.
"Hooking up with Charlie was a natural for us for a number of reasons," said Bill Cowart, president of Avatar's homebuilding operations in Florida and Arizona. "We recognize the fact that professional bass fishing is a wholesome sport that is growing very rapidly and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Charlie and professional bass fishing are a natural fit to showcase our two lakefront communities."
"As a builder-contractor, I am quite familiar with Avatar's outstanding lakefront communities and their sensitivity to conserving fishing resources and guarding the environment," Youngers said.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM BASSMASTER MAGAZINE.
Like most professional anglers, much of Shaw Grigsby's fishing education came in the pages of Bassmaster Magazine.
"I was a member of BASS as a young man and one of the main reasons was Bassmaster Magazine," the Elite Series pro said. "I learned more than I can tell you from the magazine."
Elite Series pro Jimmy Mason's weirdest catch was a Native American artifact.
"I once caught a Native American pot, a clay pot," The Alabama angler said. "I was fishing an old shell mound on Lake Pickwick in the winter with a grub and caught the inside of the clay pot. It was probably 90 percent intact."
Mason respectfully retuned the item into the water from which it came.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brian Clark, winner of the recent Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Texoma, is a former professional rodeo cowboy. His specialty was bull riding.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO...
Elite Series pro Stephen Browning says he would likely still be working for the state of Arkansas as an inspector of wastewater treatment plants.
THEY SAID IT.
"I'd like to remove the word 'lucky' from the vocabulary. Luck is important, but the most important element is your mind and your ability to analyze the behavior of the fish." Reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Michael Iaconelli downplayed the element of luck in an interview with the Stockton Record newspaper.
2dKevin Van Valkenburg