Please stop it. This is my heartfelt request to professional bass fishermen who feel compelled to slam their rods to the deck, or worse yet, splash them overboard. Please, just stop it.
As much as the Internet bitches will insist that this shows nothing if not competitive fire, I disagree. It is an egotistical tantrum, one that not only exhibits overt disrespect of their sponsors, but the legion of anglers out there who would never dream of spiking a four-hundred dollar rig.
Yes, they get paid to fish the brand. And yes, they have a garage full of replacements. Duly noted. But, what of the message?
To me, it’s very clear.
“Yes, I look and act like you. I even sound like you when I talk, but that is where the resemblance ends. My dreams of making the big time are so far in the rear view mirror, I have completely forgotten what it feels like to click “submit” on the order form to Bass Pro Shops or Cabelas or Tackle Warehouse. When I urge my fellow anglers to buy something, I have no clue what it’s like to balance household finances. I don’t have to work overtime, miss my kids and make a few extra bucks to fuel my passion. Sure, I play up my life on the road as a professional angler for the empathy of all those poor slobs who work at real jobs, but this is where the similarity ends. I am now a diva. I can’t possibly relate to anyone who doesn’t have a silver spoon pushed so far up their rectum, it feels like their tonsils. It’s just a rod and a reel. Who cares?”
I care. And, I hope anyone who watches these televised snit fits, feels the same. If you don’t, I hope your kids like Top Ramen and Kool-Aid.
Although Bobby Lane is not the only offender, far from it, he is the most recent. His rod-and-reel hurling finale in Major League Fishing epitomizes these embarrassing displays, the message being “I lost, I’m pissed, so I will take it out on the nearest inanimate object” i.e. the primary tools I get paid to fish with.
Personally, I would believe in the “competitive fire” excuse if someone pulled a Rolex from his wrist and deep-sixed it. Or, better yet, if they really wanted to sell the notion of being consumed by true passion, toss the wedding ring. Now, that would be emotional commitment, or lack thereof.
What is truly mystifying is the lack of blowback from sponsors. Is this remotely acceptable to them? From the lack of response, I can only assume it to be true. If so, the inmates are running the asylum.
With their noble Swedish heritage, I have only one message for Abu-Garcia, Bobby Lane’s rod sponsor – “Vaxa ett par.” If my Google translator is even close to accurate, it means, “Grow a pair.” It means, say something to your paid representative. It means, man up. It means, live up to the name you picked for your rods – Veritas (truth). If you choose to do nothing, then expect the rest of us – those who have never owned an Abu Garcia rod – to joyously applaud our life-long good judgment.
How could any company endorse such behavior? It makes you wonder. Who are the chumps here? The ones selling $200 rods and reels or the ones buying them?
Sorry, but I would want my company pros to respect the brand. If they so desperately need to behave badly, then my advice would be to do so with some item other than company gear. Better yet, just don’t do it at all. For guidance, look to the gold standard of bass sponsorship, Kevin VanDam. You know, the guy you don’t beat most of the time. The guy who cuts himself off at “Son-of-a!” The guy who is more arrogant, more self-assured and far more successful than you at this bass fishing thing. Yeah, that guy. Not only can he beat your ass six ways to Sunday, he does it with swagger. If VanDam has ever thrashed his gear on camera, then I stand corrected. Then again, if you have his résumé, you can get away with it.