There are people who are a part of the bass fishing industry and then there is a rare breed of people who fuel it. Tim Tucker was a member of the latter group. In fact, Tucker may have been the de facto leader of this fraternity.
For all of his larger-than-life bluster and a voice that sounded like a dump truck dispensing gravel, Tucker made a lot of things happen. But Tucker didn't technically work in the realm of profit and loss and this lack of statistical data doesn't alter the truth. As Mark Twain once observed, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
You see, Tucker had connections – a veritable spider web of contacts that reached from the smallest lure crafter to the most powerful CEO. This is where Tim was at his best. Not just in the major wranglings of bassdom that thankfully most bass anglers never have to endure, but the little, everyday stuff that trickled down to weekend fishing. Quite simply and inarguably, Tucker made things happen.
Yes, he was a bear of a man who could be obstinate, opinionated and maddening all at the same time. But, in sports parlance, he was the guy who you hated as an opponent, but given the opportunity, would kill to have on your team.
As the senior of senior writers at BassMaster magazine, Tim could have lived on those credentials alone. But he didn't. His reach went even further in the bass community because he was an instigator – someone who loved stirring the pot.
In the embryonic years of bass fishing's "modern age," Tucker was the tip of the spear. In the '80s and early '90s, when bass fishing was slogging out of the primordial ooze, Tucker was knee-deep in that evolutionary mud. When news of his death flashed across the country, there were more than a few bass-fishing millionaires out there who knew their fortunes – and fame – owed a large debt of gratitude to the big guy from Florida.
Countless others in this crazy sport also owe thanks to someone who could change the course of a life, and perhaps bass-fishing history, with a simple phone call. The BBZ is no different. A 5-minute chat with Tucker – one that probably ranked less than an afterthought to him - led directly to exactly the right publisher at precisely the right time to publish a bass-fishing book that stretched the publishing envelope.
On page 5 of "The Big Bass Zone" there's a thank-you to Tucker that likely was overlooked by most except industry insiders who could have guessed his role in the project.
As bass fishing, hopefully, continues to evolve, the danger for our world is to forget those who provided the octane to a sport before the cameras and sound-bite technicians showed up. Like a rookie ballplayer ignorant of the history on the field, we too run the risk of forgetting the bedrock from which we came - names like Tim Tucker or Bill Murphy or Buck Perry.
The mist of the past should never become a fog. These are the real people who made it happen.