Fritts stops here tonight at Bass Expo

ON THE OUTDOORS

January 15, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Professional bass fishing is big business, from tournaments to fishing shows, and David Fritts, of Lexington, N.C., has been one of the sport's brightest stars for a number of years.

Last season, Fritts won $500,000 on the Bassmaster and FLW pro circuits, including three tournaments worth $100,000 each.

"It was a really good year, but it wasn't easy " said Fritts, who will be at the Bass Expo at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium tonight. "There ain't any of it that's easy. Fishing is the only fun part of it, really."

Fritts will give a free one-hour seminar on advanced crankbait strategies at 5 p.m., and the former Bassmasters Classic champion and B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year is acknowledged as one of the very best at fishing crankbaits.

"You got about three hours?" Fritts said good-naturedly when contacted at home yesterday and asked for pointers on fishing his favorite lures.

"The most important things, probably, are: having confidence in what crankbait you are throwing and how it feels when you are retrieving it -- knowing what that feel is telling you."

Those who know why they are throwing which baits where, he said, are the fishermen who consistently fish well in tournaments, even on waters new to them.

"There is a fine line right there in knowing your bait, learning the vibrations and knowing when it's not right," said Fritts, a five-time winner on the B.A.S.S. Tour and a five-time qualifier for the Classic. "Once you learn what different structure and each bottom feels like, it can tell you if you're fishing rocks, weeds, sand, gravel, mud and so on.

"A crankbait, it can be your eyes."

The Bass Expo, Saltwater Fishing and Fly Fishing Show, which runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds, is only one stop on Fritts' day-to-day merry-go-round. Over the next seven weeks, he said, he will be in at least seven different cities and in the weeks that follow there are more shows, seminars and tournaments.

"Fishing the tournaments, doing shows and trying to keep up with the family " said Fritts, who is married and has two young children, "I've been sitting here at home for two days trying to figure how to make all the plane and hotel reservations fit."

Fritts said that between tournaments, shows and other personal appearances, he manages about 100 days a year at home.

"I don't get as much time with my family as I would like," said Fritts. "And I guess that's part of the price of success."

L Tomorrow, Fritts is off to Mexico for three days of hunting.

"But after that it is pretty much a U.S. tour," said Fritts. "And the tournaments are mixed in there, too. It all really takes away from you fishing, but that's the way it is."

Also at 6 o'clock tonight at the Bass Expo, current Bassmasters Classic Champion Dion Hibdon will give a free seminar on finesse fishing for bass.

Through the rest of the show, multiple seminars are offered by national and regional experts in virtually all phases of fishing.

Admission to all areas of the Bass Expo is $7 for adults, $3 for ages 10-14 and free for those under 10. The show opens at noon today and tomorrow and at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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