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2012 ARTICLES

WHEN SPONSORSHIP BECOMES PARTNERSHIP

 

      The seemingly never-ending emails, phone calls, voicemails, questionnaires, contracts, and updates are only the beginning once your “Quest for Sponsorship” (see part 1 in the April 12 edition of Fisherman’s Post) finally becomes the partnership you desired. When you get the response you are hoping for—“Yes, our company has decided to work with you during the coming year”—that’s when you begin making phone calls to your teammates and friends exclaiming, “We’ve got a new sponsor!”

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THE QUEST FOR SPONSORSHIP

 

      People often ask me a couple of questions. The first: “How do you get so many sponsors?” The second: “How can I get sponsored?”

 

You’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t take ‘No’ for an answer.” Well, when seeking an opportunity to represent a company as a pro-staff member, that old saying just doesn’t apply. There are times you must take “no” as the answer. More often than not, companies aren’t prepared for your request, thus making it uncomfortable for them to respond… positively or negatively.

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BRASS BANDS AND SCREAMING DRAGS… FIGHT SONGS OF THE SPORTS WORLD!

 

      Most all institutions of higher education have a “fight song” that is bellowed by a thundering brass band during a celebration of each of its team’s touchdowns!  The sport of king mackerel tournament fishing is not unlike these schools of higher education; the thundering, high-pitched, screaming clicker from a cast-aluminum conventional fishing reel bellowing the arrival of a welcome visitor…

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2008 ARTICLES

THE PRO DEBUT – PART III

 

       …The ringing in my ears, from the day of howling winds, muffled Jack’s announcement of our catch.  The tension of needing to know the fish’s weight was agonizing.  Waiting that 30 seconds it took for my wife, Audrey, to call and inform me that our 34.91 pound king was in tenth place felt like an eternity.
       The next thing I heard was my phone ring and Jim Davis, the SKA’s first National Champion captain in 1992, say, “All right boys, that’s a good ‘un.  Go out there and getcha' another good ‘un tomorrow.”
       As I sat in the basin, bobbing up and down between the much larger boats, it was comforting to know that in addition to my family, my friends, Garland Sewell, Jim Davis, and Todd and Barry Matthews, were back home rooting us on while watching the SKA’s live web cam.

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THE PRO DEBUT – PART II

 

     …The following morning I awoke to the heavy embrace of an empty Oreo package and chocolate crumbs on my pillow case - hmm.  I felt so guilty - but, I had to move on.  This day was going to be filled with excitement for my sons, Joshua and Crockett, my brother-in-law Chris, and me.
     After loading our gear and greeting the Mad Mouse in the waterway, I met another engaging personality, Captain Scott LaFave of Team No Loose Ends.  I liked him immediately.
     A wide smile and deep chuckle in the early morning indicated that he valued the camaraderie of the SeaCraft family while spending time with his son, Ryan.  After introducing his other teammates, Don and Alex Pepin, Scott bellowed, “Let’s go catch some bait.”

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THE PRO DEBUT – PART I

 

     As twilight quietly blanketed the towering pines, a littering of luminescent shimmers painted the western side of NC Highway 53.  Reflections from the eyes of a herd of deer, and the appearance of Venus in the eastern skyline provided an awareness that we were about to embark on a fishing adventure of a lifetime.
     Still 975 miles and more than 17 hours from our destination, my family and I began to question our sanity.  Unexpectedly, our 2008 king mackerel tournament season had begun.

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2007 ARTICLES

WHY KMT FISHING?

 

     The annoying buzz at 3:00 a.m. from the same alarm clock I so despise during the week; somehow bestows me with a giddy exuberance and anticipation on tournament mornings.  Not completely sure if I ever fall asleep, the thoughts and images from the restless nights fill my mind as I stumble from bed and nearly fall into the shower. I play the scenario in my mind over and over, thinking and hoping that today will be the day.
     A screaming reel, the hurried pursuit, and an excited crew precedes a resounding thump of a Scomberomorus cavalla, better known as the king mackerel, being hoisted over the gunwale and onto the deck by the enthusiastic gaffer.  An ensuing celebration of grown men shrieking, slapping high-fives, hugging, and hyperventilating follows this magnificent test of wills in nature.

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A DAY TO REMEMBER…OR FORGET

 

     As I heard the out-going clicker on one of my TICA 558S reels and Bela live-bait rods, I turned just in time to see it come zipping past my right ear.  A resounding thump and resulting crack in my port Yamaha motor cover preceded the outfit’s plunge into the open ocean off the stern of my Contender...  Hmmm, let me see… I should probably start from the beginning.  My team and I were fishing the Topsail Offshore King Mackerel Tournament in October 2006.  As you will soon learn, the Liquid Fire Fishing Team had one of the most exhilarating, frustrating and disappointing days we have had since, well, since ever.
     Once we arrived at our destination on the east side of the Cape Lookout Shoals, I deployed our first bait, an active three pound bluefish.  By the time we were able to position the other five lines, the first bait was inhaled.  What came next is music to the ears of every tournament fisherman -- the rhythmic tone of the screaming reel beginning its ascension.

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OVERCOMING ADVERSITY

 

     Most anyone reading this last installment of KMT Journals for the 2007 season is old enough to remember the cast of the beloved Hee Haw sitting around the cabin, surrounded by hay bales and lazy blue-tick hounds, bellowing the woeful ditty:

 

     Gloom, despair, and agony on me – oohh!
     Deep dark depression, excessive misery – oohh!
     If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all – oohh!
     Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

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STRIKING OUT

 

     It can only be compared to the “gut shot” feeling we got as young baseball players. Having an opportunity to be the hero as the final batter in our little league games filled our youthful thoughts.
     Stepping up to the plate with the outcome hanging in the balance, our ability to time the pitcher’s “smoker” (pun intended), was the moment we all dreamed of.
     The crowd was screaming and chanting our name (okay, okay, Mom, Dad, and little sister were at least clapping loud and yelling for us).  In our mind’s eye, our limp-armed adversary unleashes his best “heater.”  Flush contact, followed by the resounding “crack,” precedes the cliché, “Goodbye Mr. Spalding.”

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ENJOYING THE JOLLY-MON – A CLASS ACT

 

     In the world of sports, the term “360” is generally considered something out of the ordinary or spectacular.  Whether it is a high-flying slam dunk or your first flip off of a diving board, either one is thought of as an accomplishment.
     There is no difference in king mackerel tournaments that draw such a “round” number.  It is a true accomplishment to organize an event that attracts that many entries in these times of sky-rocketing fuel prices.
     My Liquid Fire Fishing Team recently had an opportunity to fish one of the most organized and enjoyable events we have ever participated in when Brant, Amy, and Barrett McMullan and the remainder of the crew of Ocean Isle Fishing Center (OIFC) hosted the 2007 Jolly Mon King Classic on June 22-23.

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A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

 

     Can you remember the attendant pulling the crossbar over your head as you sat down for your first roller coaster ride?  How did it feel when you first crested the apex of a Farris wheel?   What was it like when you met your first date’s parents?  These exhilarating, tense, and unbelievably apprehensive moments in our lives tend to etch themselves in our long-term memory bank.
     One of these “first” moments for my Liquid Fire Fishing team is seared in the annals of my consciousness similar to, but certainly not as heart-warming or as significant as, the moment that I laid eyes on my first-born’s face 19 years ago.  Similar to Rachel’s birth, I didn’t know what to expect when I saw our first “money” fish lying on the deck of my Contender.  Our emotions were nearly uncontrollable.

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UNSUNG HEROES

 

     It is not often that a Rudy Reuttiger gets carried off the field by his adoring teammates.  You remember the movie “Rudy,” in which Sean Astin starred in the life story of the unheralded, wannabe, walk-on football player at Notre Dame.   He was the guy who slept in the maintenance facility, picked up the towels, mowed grass, carried other player’s shoulder pads, and ultimately, became a human blocking dummy just to become an element in his passion.
     Personal glory was never his goal.  However, the desire to be part of a team to make it the best it could be was.  All this was done for love of the sport and his teammates.  As I try to get over my sniffles, my mind turns to all of the “pit crew” tasks that my family members perform before, during, and after tournament time.  I am sure that many competition teams are similar in this regard.

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TOURNAMENT TRAILS, MONEY, AND THE INTERNET

 

     “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  Amity Police Chief Martin Brody stoically looked Quint (Robert Shaw) in the eye and made this proclamation in one of the most infamous movies of all time, Jaws.  Of course, they were trying to catch a 25-foot great white shark that had fictitiously eaten every sunbather and water sport enthusiast in New York.  However, the correlation between tournament king mackerel fishing and searching for “Jaws” is eerily similar:  razor sharp teeth, a lot of money, and a healthy dose of prideful testosterone.  Not to mention the similarity that one Florida fisherman experienced this past April, when a 57-pound king mackerel launched itself into the man’s boat and lacerated his leg, requiring 100-plus stitches.

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SEARCHING FOR SPONSORSHIP

 

     SPONSORS!  SPONSORS!  CALLING ALL SPONSORS!  COME IN, SPONSORS! 
     We awoke at 2:30 a.m. at my Cape Carteret, N.C. home on Saturday morning, March 10.  It wasn’t even tournament day.  In fact, our first event was two and one-half months away, and the desire to catch a king mackerel was only a distant ambition at that moment.  Members of my Liquid Fire Fishing Team were preparing to make a five-hour journey to Charlotte, N.C. and relishing an opportunity to represent one of our sponsors, SPRO / Gamakatsu, at the Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic.

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WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO KMT TEAMS USE?

 

     Bursting through a white-capped inlet as the sun begins to peek over the horizon and being doused with a saltwater shower over the bow can take your breath quicker than a left hook to the ribs.  Battling five to eight-foot seas in three-second intervals is common during tournament days.  For many years, and long before I ever became a participant in this exciting sport, many passionate king mackerel anglers battled the elements in much smaller crafts than are available today.
     Between Morehead City and Myrtle Beach, we are privileged to have some of the most tenured, popular, and well-run king mackerel tournaments on the east coast.  Many tournament directors and volunteers spend countless hours arranging sponsorship, preparing event locations, and organizing festivities for fishermen and their families so that an enjoyable atmosphere is prominent.

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GETTING PREPARED FOR TOURNAMENT TIME

 

     April showers bring May flowers… and with it, king mackerel tournament preparation!  As the seasons change, Spring Fever becomes an epidemic.  For most fishermen on our pristine coast, a little Saltwater Therapy is the most customary cure.
     Daylight savings time has arrived, and as water temperatures rise, the enthusiasm that drives so many dedicated king mackerel tournament teams has returned.
     Last month we discussed some of the reasons that king mackerel fishing teams subject themselves to the rigors and frustrations of tournament fishing.  The unquenchable human desire to tame a wild creature in an uncontrollable natural resource seems to be the basis for most of the time and money we spend on the water.

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