Skeet's smallie sunrise surprise


*Editor's note: This is the second of a series of columns by Jerry McKinnis on five of the Bassmaster Classic competitors

I'm watching the Super Bowl, trying to catch all the commercials like everyone else, when up pops the spot for ESPN's mobile phone.

Then right there before my eyes appears Skeet Reese. My first thought was, "Hey I know that guy…I actually know someone that's on a Super Bowl commercial."

You had to be really proud of 'ole Skeet.

I'm writing a few things about CITGO Bassmaster Classic competitors that I have fished with recently. And writing down the first thing that comes to mind when I recall that particular trip. I feel very privileged to have had these fishing opportunities.

Skeet Reece was on my "Fishin' Hole" show recently, so he's the next subject.

California son

I've only known Skeet for about five years, but I've known of him since he came onto the bass fishing scene some 10 years ago. Here's a young man who has taken all the right steps building his career, both on and off the water.

Lots of people remember Skeet Reese as the angler who danced during the weigh-in at a past Classic. However, I look at him and at his young family and think what great representatives for our sport.

Skeet, if you don't already know, is from the west coast and we've had successful anglers come from that region, but because it's located far from most major bass tournament trails, a west coast angler generally makes the logical move to the south, eventually.

So far Skeet hasn't done that. It seems that, by gosh, he's from California and that's that.

I think that says a lot to other anglers from out there. And trust me, there are thousands of them who want a shot at this level of bass fishing.

Enough pats on the back for Skeet Reese, let's get to that fishing trip.

Orange-ish sunrise

First thought, yeah my very first thought: Skeet had been after me for some time to come to his part of the world and make a show fishing for smallmouth below Parker Dam and Lake Havasu on the Colorado River. This is actually in Nevada, but very close to the California line.

Skeet bragged and bragged on the fishing and saw no possible way that the adventure could go awry.

I can imagine the thoughts going through his head: "My gosh, these guys have come a long way with lots of equipment and big television plans: What if the fish won't bite? But wait, they always bite up here. I haven't been here for a while, but we'll have no trouble catching 40 or 50 smallmouth."

That had to be what he way thinking and for a little added insurance he brought along his buddy John Murray, another successful bass pro from the west, to run the camera boat. No way we can miss.

We're staying in Havasu City and the trip down to Parker Dam takes about a half hour. I never told Skeet this, but that drive through the mountains and the conversation along the way was worth the entire trip.

The sun was just starting to brighten up the sky and as we passed by Lake Havasu, a beautiful clear lake. The sunrise hit the mountains, the countyside and the lake, turning them into a beautiful orange-ish tint. Towards the end of the drive we actually got some 8 or 10 looks at the river and, surprisingly, it too because of the time of day looked orange-ish. Is orange-ish a word? I'm not sure.

As we pulled into the parking area and up to the boat ramp it dawned on me that the mountains and the countryside may have been orange-ish, but Lake Havasu and the Colorado River were muddy. Just flat out muddy. Not orange, brown.

There you have it. My first thought when I think of that truly wonderful trip is the look on Skeet Reese's face when he realized his clear, clean, smallmouth stream had turned into a mud hole.

This happened because of a surprise flood on one of the rivers feeding the big lake. The lake mudded up, which of coarse affected the water coming through Parker Dam. It messed up the river, as well as our trip. How could this happen?

Actually it didn't mess up our trip, we just had to work a little harder to expose Skeet's fishin' hole. Serves him right though, because after we both worked for about an hour trying to catch one, I finally put one in the boat. That was the point when Skeet responded with: "Way to go Pops."

What a young "Whipper-Snapper" he is.