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Bassmaster – Portrait of the angler as a young man

Elite Series rookie Kevin Hawk at Mexico's Lake El Salto. Photo: Pete Robbins

Elite Series rookie Kevin Hawk at Mexico’s Lake El Salto. Photo: Pete Robbins

What does an Elite Series rookie do during the break between tournaments?

In the case of Kevin Hawk, he fishes, and then he fishes some more. His vacation from work – and if you don’t believe being a bass pro is work, then I highly recommend you leave the recliner and try it yourself – was more work. He pulled money out of his own pocket and went to the Anglers Inn resort on Mexico’s Lake El Salto. Not quite a hardship tour, but I’m sure that others among the field chose to spend their days off catching up on sleep, family obligations and other aspects of life.

I had spearheaded this trip for a group of five, among whom Hawk was the only pro bass angler. The rest of us were once-a-week or twice-a-month fishermen, or in the case of my wife, fisherwomen. Having been around many other pros, but not Kevin, I worried about whether he would be able to ratchet down the intensity level, put away the all-competition-all-the-time blinders, and actually enjoy his time at El Salto. Some of them can, some can’t. In fact, some of them don’t seem to truly enjoy fishing, except when competing or as a way to make a living.

I shouldn’t have worried. The 34-year-old fished every minute he could, but he shared the front of the boat with us civilians. He never played the “pro card,” never had an “I’m Keith Hernandez” moment, never tried to tell the guides how to do their jobs. I’m sure there were people at Anglers Inn who recognized him, but except when I asked him to don his tournament jersey for some pictures he never indicated to any other guests what he did for a living.

If you’ve never been to Anglers Inn, and you like to fish, I highly recommend that you start saving your pennies. Sell your blood, your coin collection or your first-born. Move into a smaller house. Marry for money instead of love. Do anything you can to get there, because in addition to catching the meanest big bass on the planet, you will be treated like a king. Read the rest of the article over on BASSMASTER.com originally published by Pete Robbins