Hersey sportsman recalls successful stint in Teardrop Bass Tournaments

HERSEY -- Dave Fowler hasn’t fished in the Teardrop Bass Tournament for many years but the Hersey resident won’t soon forget memories of the competition that included individuals from such counties as Lake, Osceola, Mason and Manistee.

“It was a great bunch of guys,” he said. “It was competitive but everyone was willing to share their secrets. If you broke down, you didn’t have to worry about people driving by and leaving you there,” Fowler recalled. “Generally speaking, bass fishermen have good equipment. If something happened, when I couldn’t pump water in when the little hose to the livewell broke, one of the other competitors put my fish in his livewell to keep them alive.

“That’s a pretty honorable thing to do.”

Competition was usually during the summer months. Crystal Lake, Big Bass Lake, Hardy Pond, Hamlin Lake and Tippy Backwaters have been among the more popular spots for Teardrop tourney anglers.

Combined weight of bass caught would usually contribute to the score of a two-man team for Fowler and whomever he used as his partner.

Fowler recalls having success in tournaments and catching a bass as large as seven pounds in Diamond Lake by White Cloud.

Tournaments vs. recreational fishing had a special contrast Fowler recalls.

“People think that those that take tournament fishing seriously are hobbyists,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a job. If you’re serious about bass fishing, you have to be on the water at daylight. You prefish the tournaments. You getting in the water at daylight and you’re fishing until it’s dark. You’re trying to eliminate dead water with no fish in it.

“It’s very competitive. The weather, generally speaking, doesn’t make any difference. The only thing that will take you off the water is lightning. It’s very, very competitive. Nobody wants to quit.”

Fowler, the Lake County 911 director, has fished in various other spots across the country.

The hot weather during the summer probably had some impact on fishing as far as anglers like Fowler are concerned.

“Anytime you’ve got hot weather like this, it drives the fish a little deeper,” he said. “You have to change your technique. Those that adapt well do well. The guys that do the best are the guys that are the most dedicated fishermen. Even when it’s not bass season they’re going somewhere fishing. I remember fishing at Duck Lake in Interlochen. The weather changed in the middle of the day. The fish went from being in two feet of water to 15 feet just like that. Those guys that took an hour or two to figure it out missed an hour or two of fishing in the day.”

Fowler has been an active hunter in the past for deer, bear, antelope and caribou. Locally, he’s also been a small game hunter, plus goose and ducks.

“I think our duck numbers are down,” he said. “That’s a cyclical thing, I think.”

For deer, he’s been involved in archery, rifle and muzzleloader. He’s hunted bear in Ontario.

Locally, concerning the deer numbers, “I live in the woods, I think the deer numbers are substantial this year,” Fowler said. “But I think we need to manage our buck herd. It seems like out west they have a handle on that. You can get a doe permit over the counter. But to get a buck license, that’s how they regulate the herd. You have to have competitive numbers, buck to doe ratio. I see 20 to 1 does over bucks. When I go out west hunting, maybe it’s two or three does to a buck. They have their buck doe ratio more in line. So the breeding process becomes more competitive. That makes stronger and healthier bucks. That’s what we really need.”

Fowler has a moose hunt scheduled for next year in Ontario.

“I used to live in Montana, I was a city police officer. I actually guided elk hunting but I never killed an elk myself,” he said.

His schedule hasn’t allowed Fowler to fish as much as he’d like to in recent years.

“It takes so much time,” he said. “When I do retire one day, I will fish again.”