- Tim Tucker
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It may be the off-season for most Bassmaster Elite Series pros, but Jeff Reynolds has still found a way to satisfy his competitive desire. The 33-year-old Oklahoma pro competes in team steer roping contests in his home state of Oklahoma.
Reynolds' will make his fourth Bassmaster Classic appearance Feb. 23-25 on Alabama's Lay Lake but in the meantime, he has been busy with his alternate career.
"I love it," he said. "If I hadn't become a fisherman, I would have liked to become a professional roper. But to be good at anything, you have to do a lot of work and spend a lot of time on it."
During breaks in the 2006 Bassmaster Elite Series season, Reynolds managed to work in a couple of roping competitions. But it's been during the off-season that he has polished his roping skills.
"I've been practicing," he noted. "I have been roping steers in the practice pen and working on being quick and handling the steers better.
"I [competed] about three weeks ago and won a little over $3,000. I finished first and fifth. And I've got a big one coming on New Years Day that pays $100,000 for first place. I'm looking forward to that one."
Reynolds' specialty, team roping, is the only team event in rodeo. He works in tandem with a teammate to rope and secure a steer in the fastest time possible.
"In the competitions that I go to, a 7- or 8-second run is pretty good. I roped one in 6 ½ seconds one time. That's pretty quick, but the guys [at the top professional level] are roping them in 4 and 4 ½ seconds. It's unbelievable."
Reynolds, who competes in eight to ten rodeo events a year, has only been roping for a little more than two years. At the urging of his new father-in-law, he tried it and proved to be a quick study.
Is there any correlation between the skills needed for professional fishing and steer roping?
"Really, there is [a correlation]," Reynolds said. "Probably in both sports the biggest thing is the mental aspect getting your mind right before you start the day fishing or before you make the next run on a steer."
Reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year Michael Iaconelli recently took a relaxing vacation to the Virgin Islands. Not surprisingly, the 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion managed to sneak in some fishing.
"We didn't go way out for the big stuff," he said. "We basically stayed inshore. We caught everything from tarpon to red snapper to big yellow fin and black fin tuna. We caught them all on light tackle. It was awesome."
Virginia angler Kurt Dove's Triton boat wrap in the 2006 Bassmaster Elite Series featured the colors and logos of A Brighter Finish, a professional boat care provider. The Manquin, Va.-based sponsor specializes in boat and RV detailing services, as well as providing an online store that sells marine-related products, www.abrighterfinish.com.
"I look forward to extending the awareness of the A Brighter Finish services and working with them for many years to come," Dove said on his website www.kurtdove.com.
Jeff Reynolds has something in common with four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Rick Clunn. Both have hooked and battled a submerged lawn chair into their boat.
"I was fishing Lake Ray Roberts in Texas with a Carolina rig," Reynolds said. "I thought I had the lake record. Those lawn chairs fight really well."
Did you know?
South Africa's Christie Thomas, who is one of a few international competitors on the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats, finished one spot (13th) from qualifying for the inaugural WBT Championship set for February on Lake Mitchell in Alabama. The top 12 anglers in the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings will compete in the WBT Championship.
If I hadn't become a BASS pro
WBT pro Angie Douthit would be able to concentrate entirely on her job as a fulltime guide on Lake Okeechobee. Douthit finished 33rd in the 2006 Toyota Women's Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
They said it
"I say it over and over again, and it's hard to keep remembering it. But you always have to let the fish tell you what to do." 2006 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Michael Iaconelli's advice on how to catch bass.
2hAdam Rubin and Kieran Darcy