Will Travel for Fishing!
As an outdoors writer, I receive invitations to many events. These events afford the opportunity to travel. These trips aren't vacations, I bust my tail!
Last month I was invited to the Nitro Boats Press event at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake, Missouri. I cleared out my guide schedule and brought all of my columns and reports up to date before I took off. Packing was simple for this three-day whirlwind tour of some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. Nowadays packing includes camera equipment, a digital recorder and computer equipment. Dollahon PR scheduled a fast-paced agenda for the writers and pro anglers.
Web-based flight reservations were booked, departing Reagan at 0600 Monday to arrive around 1pm in Branson. The return flight had me leaving Branson at 3pm Wednesday returning home around 11pm. A compressed agenda began as we stepped off the plane. First stop, a tour of the Springfield headquarters of Bass Pro Shops was eye-opening. For nearly 40 years, this location has been the largest in the 58-store chain. With 750,000 square feet of space nearly completed, the flagship store is second only to Macy&'s in New York!
A wonderful dinner was followed up by a corporate presentation including the Tracker Marine business model and new product introduction. One of the Marketing Managers, John Acosta was a guest on my boat a few years back and I had the pleasure of introducing him to bass fishing!His presentation told the business story of the massive Bass Pro Shops organization. Bass Pro Shops employs a very unique way of selling boats - posted and advertised pricing, non-commissioned sales, and packaged boats built to BPS specifications for 35 years.
After dinner, sign-ups for the next day's activities took place. It was more like a scramble. Reserving time on the water with Nitro pros, Kevin VanDam, Tim Horton, Stacey King and legendary angler Charlie Campbell was accomplished!
Nitro Pro Stacey King with his modified Alabama Rig.
I made time for Nitro test drives on the lake, launched from the floating Bent Hook Marina. Learning walleye fishing from the best father and son, Parsons team detailed the history of the development of the kicker motor and walleye down and side riggers.The pros shared their lure modification secrets one of which became the new Berkley Flicker Shad!
Looking for more details about Big Cedar Lodge, established by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris 25 years ago, I requested a tour. Much to my delight, this was arranged with PR Manager, Sydney Friar, 2011 Miss Missouri! I had to take notes, as I was admittedly distracted!
Sydney was awesome, representing the lodge and putting up with me! Big Cedar was well kept, with a natural appearance! Lodging for up to 3,000 includes cabins and lodges with awesome views and shuttle service to dozens of activities. This is a family fishing/outdoors destination!
Tuesday night's dinner was fun! A live band, wonderful dinner and super company! Hanging out with writer buddies Mark Hicks (BASSMASTER), Terry Brown (Wired2Fish), Ned Kehde (In- Fisherman) and others! I also got to meet former Miami Dolphin receiver Kendall Newson (Executive Director, teachachildtofish.net).
Taking hundreds of photos and volumes of notes, these 3 days generated thoughts, quotes and BoatUS ANGLER Tacklebox "Do-it-Yourself" articles for the next year!
It's a lot of work; hanging out in beautiful fishing settings and airports with fast-paced agendas; but someone has to do it.
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