We get to speak to the best anglers in the world here at Wired2Fish and hopefully get to pass on tips, techniques, and just how they approach fishing along the way to our readers. Sitting down and covering them differently with what makes them tick and what is on their minds is part of it. Most of the time we see them on the water fishing, at a press event or even on TV but sitting down one on one is where rubber meets the road in our book.
We just got that opportunity with 2-time Angler of the Year, Bassmaster Classic and FLW Championship winner Davy Hite and picked his brain a bit about the state of the sport and what he sees from an anglers perspective in this Q&A. The amicable South Carolina pro has an even keel and is very cerebral from both a fishing and business perspective. Below is that Q&A.
Wired2Fish: It seems that bass fishing is making a surge and turning a positive corner in the last couple of years. Do you see that and if so, what do you think is contributing to it?
Hite: Fishing is turning the corner and does seem to be gaining momentum. I think it comes down to a few things, in my opinion. Getting college and high school fishing going has been huge. We needed this shot in the arm, and these kids are very passionate about it. We see them coming from both large cities and small towns, and it’s great to see the youth thinking fishing is cool. We already knew it was, but having kids with no fishing background get excited about it is big in my book. The other thing I believe is the folks at BASS are very passionate about making it work, and even though it’s a business, I feel good about their direction. Seems they are trying hard and trying new things, and even though not everyone may like the ideas, they are making an impact. The numbers of people who know what we do, how hard it is to do it and what it takes to be a true professional are growing, and I give BASS a lot of credit there.
Wired2Fish: What did you think of the Delaware River and Philadelphia venue.
Hite: There are several things that I really liked about Philly including the large number of people at the weigh-ins, how nice the people were, and how much they loved us being there even if it was their first time seeing anything like it. It is tough going with a truck and a bass boat driving the streets back and forth. Some people looked at you like you had two heads, but that is expected. It was a very expensive trip with tolls, the higher costs for gas, and hotels and food were higher too, but overall, it was a pleasant surprise.
I didn’t fish well and really didn’t figure anything out, but I don’t dwell on that much. I live by a saying, “When you are doing great maybe you aren’t as good as you think, and when you are doing bad maybe you aren’t as bad as you think either.” I try to stay on an even keel and never get too high or too low.
I still have had a pretty good year and have a chance to make both the Classic and the Top 50 AOY event, but I have to fish better moving forward.
Wired2Fish: We understand you have been working hard health wise, working out and losing weight. How is that going?
Hite: I have lost 30 pounds and feel the best I have felt in a very long time. I don’t have anything hurting and the small back issue I had for a while has gone away. It makes a huge difference on the water and how hard you can fish being in better shape. I had a rough tournament at Philly but was amped to get right back out there and that is a testament to a workout program I am on.
Wired2Fish: We noticed you have been doing a lot of commentary for “First Look” on Bassmaster.com and you look at ease and relaxed. How is that fitting in?
Hite: I actually really enjoy it and love being involved, but doing it means I have not done well in the event most times. It is a great opportunity, and whether I do great or poor with the fishing part, I still am able to get my sponsors airtime. That is huge. I do my best to ask questions I want to know but more importantly ask those I think the fan’s are curious about. I really like doing this and hope I can continue even after my career as an angler is over. (laughs) I have no intentions on quitting my real job but this is a nice deal for me and my sponsors now.
Wired2Fish: We get to see the latest in products here at Wired2Fish, but many times anglers like yourself are in the middle of it before it becomes a reality. What do you think about today’s equipment?
Hite: We have by far the best equipment to make a living. Whether it’s my Phoenix Boat, my Evinrude engine, my Humminbird Electronics, my Talons or my baits and rods and reels, they are the best they have ever been. With the best comes a higher price though. I remember when I got my first Stratos to fish BASS with a 150 Evinrude and all the bells and whistles and it cost $14,000. Today’s rigs, fully equipped are over $60,000, and honestly that worries me. We are getting our sport out of the reach of most folks with prices, but it seems that may be trending down a bit with rods and reels and tackle. Cost has indeed changed the game. I tell folks all the time that they can fish and enjoy the experience without having the most expensive items. Maybe a 16-foot aluminum and a 90-hp engine, but the fish do not know it and the experience is still good.
Wired2Fish: Anything else you would like to mention?
Hite: I still love to fish just as much as I did 22 years ago when I started, and the passion still runs deep. I am honored to be a professional angler even with all of the speed bumps, changes and travel. I still love it, and it’s what I have chosen to do. You know me and know I am a positive guy and believe we have our best opportunities coming. I would like to see more tournaments, but not with more entry fees as some guys won’t be able to make it. I tell people all the time we actually made more money with lower entry fees and smaller payouts but less people got paid and that is the trouble with that dynamic. I am in it for the long haul and believe I am very lucky to get to fish for a living.