A Tale About Tommy By Stan Fagerstrom
I expect we all have our favorite times of year. One of mine for a long time has been mid-July.
Why? Because thatís when the American Sportfishing Association holds its annual ICAST show. The event brings together lure manufacturers and those who sell them as well as those of us who write or talk about them. For a guy whoís deep into fishing, and Iíve been there for most of a century, itís almost like a midsummer Christmas.
I do a good deal of writing about products used by fishermen. New products always play a major role at the ICAST show. Itís a time writers like myself have opportunity to see brand new fish catching tools of one kind or another before they reach the shelves of sporting goods stores.
But thatís just one of the reasons this show holds such fascination for me. Most important of all is the opportunity to again see longtime friends in the tackle industry. Itís usually the one time all year when that opportunity presents itself and I flat out love it.
Attend the ICAST show as long as I have and eventually you get to know those individuals you can count on to tell it like it is regardless of what they are selling. I learned long ago that not all tackle salesmen are all that hung up on fishing as a hobby. Iíve known those who much prefer to head for the golf course or the ski slope as opposed to a lake or stream.
Itís those guys who are just as deeply into angling as you and I are that have come to mean the most to me. Just having a chance to be with them and to share experiences since we last were together is priceless.
The ICAST show is usually held in Las Vegas. This year it was held at Orlando, Florida. Iím glad it doesnít go to Orlando often. The prices down there on everything from soup to sweet potatoes are outrageous. If forced to spend a couple of weeks there Iíd have to take up robbing banks instead of fishing for bass just to be able to pay the rent!
As Iíve mentioned, there are those special friends I make it a point to try to catch up with just as soon as I walk through the doors to the ICAST show on opening day. This year one of those men right at the head of my ďmust seeĒ list had something special to tell me about.
Who was it? His name is Tommy Akin. Heís from Greenfield, Tennessee. Tommy, except for the four years he spent serving his country in the Army during the Viet Nam war, has lived---and fished---all over the greenest state in the land of free.
My friend Tommy Akin is a tournament-winning bass angler. Look close and you can see the new Strike King lure he caught this bass on is still pinned to its mug.
Tommy works in a promotional capacity for a variety of businesses related to both hunting fishing. If youíre a bass man youíve undoubtedly used the fish-catching products produced by one of the companies he represents. Itís the Strike King Lure Company out of Collierville, Tennessee. Tommy has been with Strike King for more than 20 years.
Remember what I said earlier about some of those who work in the tackle industry not being deep into fishing themselves? You better believe Tommy Akin isnít one of them. When heís not talking about Strike Kingís products heís out there using them. His intense interest in angling is a major reason why he was voted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame a few years ago.
That new Strike King worm shown next to the rod was introduced for the first time this fall. It has already won bass tournaments in Tennessee. I'll provide complete details on this interesting new bait in my next column.
Thereís another reason I mention my special friend in this column. Itís because Tommy and his fishing partner had just won a bass fishing tournament on Kentucky Lake shortly before we got together again at last summerís ICAST show.
The five fish they brought to the weigh-in for that contest weighed 30.44-pounds. Most of their fish came on a brand new bait that Strike King brought to market for the first time this fall.
My pal Tommyís been around for awhile. When he gets excited about a new bait its gets my attention pdq. Be assured I learned what that new bait is and why this Tennessee bass fishing expert is so fired up about it.
Iíll tell you more about this new lure in my next column. If itís big bass youíre after, itís something youíll want to learn more about. Watch for the details in my column beginning Nov 1.
-To Be Continued-