CITGO Bassmaster pros Roland Martin and Gary Yamamoto will be doing their part for the war effort next week when they travel to Germany to tour several military bases and visit soldiers recovering from wounds inflicted in Iraq.
Martin, the all-time BASS tournament winner and nine-time Angler of the Year, and Yamamoto, a former Classic qualifier and renowned lure maker, will spend five days in Germany. They will be joined by two-time Women's Bass Fishing Association champion Judy Wong and the Nashville-based World's Greatest Fishing Band.
"A guy over there in the service got in touch with Gary, and said that many of the servicemen that had been wounded in Iraq and were in the hospital over there, they love fishing," said Walt Reynolds, Martin's marketing director and a Tour pro in his own right. "He wanted to know if there was a chance that he could come over and visit some of the troops.
"So Gary talked to Roland and they decided to do it."
Both pros served their country in the military. Martin was a lieutenant in the Army from 1963-65. Yamamoto was in the Air Force stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
"It's the patriotic thing to do," said Martin via cell phone from Winnipeg, Canada where he is moose hunting. "I feel like it's the least that I can do to support the troops."
"I'm glad to have the opportunity to do this," Yamamoto added. "It will be exciting.
"I remember how much we enjoyed the USO troops that visited us in Thailand. We're just fishermen, but fortunately we have some pretty good singers going with us. So we're going to be able to put on a pretty good show, I think.
"We printed up 10,000 copies of Inside Line (magazine) with areas for autographs in the middle for Roland and I to sign. That's what Roland I will be doing. We don't sing or dance."
Yamamoto is footing the entire bill for the trip.
OH, CANADA. Did you notice that Mike Desforges, the winner of last weekend's New York CITGO Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Erie, is from Ontario? That makes him the first Canadian pro to ever win a BASS event.
Desforges, a realtor who fishes tournaments in the summertime, was joined by fellow Ontario angler Gaspare Costabille (third place) atop the leader board.
OUCH! When he qualified for the 2002 CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch beer, Jason Quinn's look included six earrings - three in each year. But for the last year, his lobes have sported a little less bling-bling.
That's because the South Carolina pro painfully discovered that there is a limit to the amount of gold in the human ear that will stand up to the demands of long, high-speed boat runs.
"I was just running down the lake one day and they just ripped out," Quinn said. "The earrings were down on my ear a little bit lower. They just caught the wind more. Both of them ripped out.
"It hurt like crazy."
BIRD MAN OF BENTON. You could refer to Mike Auten as a birdbrain and get no argument from the past Classic qualifier. Lately, he's been enjoying a lengthy visit from migrating hummingbirds that have flocked to his Benton, Ky., yard.
"I've got a flock of them of at least 40 right now," Auten said. "We probably don't have as many this year. Last year we were going through 12 cups of sugar a day. I've got seven feeders hanging up right now, and they are standing room only.
"They will probably pack up and leave here in another month. I enjoy the heck out of watching them. It's really a neat bird."
DID YOU KNOW? Two anglers have won more than $300,000 in a single BASSMASTER season - Denny Brauer ($347,000 in 1998) and Dean Rojas ($333,000 in 2001).
PRO BIRTHDAYS. Alabama pro Randy Howell turns 30 on Sept. 25, while Art Ferguson of Michigan will be 39 two days later. Kentucky's Mark Menendez becomes 40 on Sept. 28.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO... Past BASS winner Homer Humphreys says he would still be "cutting meat in a grocery store." Before becoming a tournament pro, the Louisiana pro was the youngest market manager in the Safeway store chain.
THEY SAID IT. "You might hit your best golf score ever. But you're going to playing the same course that you've already played 30 times this year. With fishing, we're on different lakes, throwing different baits under different weather conditions. And every, every minute is a brand new minute. You never have a clue what's going to happen. I guess that's part of it. Just loving it and wanting to try and do better every time that you go out. And just see if you can do better." Veteran Texas pro Harold Allen was asked what keeps him motivated after nearly 30 years.
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