BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 35

Nixon and his wife Amy have been married for 26 years, and they have three adult children. He credits Amy’s understanding and support for allowing him to reach the level of success he has. “Amy has always supported me throughout my career, both physi- cally and emotionally,” Nixon said of his wife. “I wouldn’t know what was going on half the time without her. She takes care of things at home so I don’t have to worry about them, and she helps keep me organized and on time, I wouldn’t be here without her.” One of Nixon’s favorites involved his 1983 Bassmaster Classic Championship, and while winning the Classic would be a favorite memory for any professional angler, for Nixon it had special mean- ing because Amy was with him. “We were really young and had nothing to our names at the time,” Nixon said. “To have Amy with me when I won the Classic was really special because we did it together, that will always be one of my favorite moments.”

FAmiLY supporT And memories

At 58-years-old, Nixon still competes on the FLW Tour, and he has continued to do so with much of the same level of excellence that has been the trademark of his career. In fact, the week af- ter sitting down for this interview, Nixon would qualify for his 14th FLW top 10 on Kentucky Lake. After leading the first two days, he would eventually finish the event in 3rd place. Despite injuries and surgeries that have affected his arms and hands, the Arkansas pro continues to see each tournament as his to win. His outlook provides him with goals that he wants to see occur before he eventually retires from competition. He admits that one of those goals kind of eats at him. “I want to win the Forrest L. Wood Cup, especially since I was so close in 2000 at the Red River in Shreveport,” Nixon said. “I led it every day until the last day when Mother Nature decided to throw a big storm into the area, and the silt came through the lock and filled the gully I was fishing.” To him, completing that goal would be the perfect scenario to wrap up his glorious career.

dAYs AheAd

of those moments came in the 1993 Megabucks event at Lake Mur- ray in Columbia, S.C. While competing late into the second day of the finals, Nixon had zero keepers in his livewell with only three rotations remaining. At a time when most anglers would be in panic mode, Nixon would show the calm, collected nature that so few competitive anglers exhibit. With the cameras rolling, and the commentators remark- ing about the tough day he was having, Nixon would turn to the camera and say, “Oh, I’m gonna get my five,” as if to show he was the only one with any sense of confidence in his abilities. When weigh-in would commence, Nixon would not only show up with a limit, but one that was good enough to take the lead. “Even though things looked bad only a little while earlier, I wasn’t concerned, I had the belief in myself that I could catch them,” he related. “I’d have won too if Tommy Biffle wouldn’t have caught a big one in the final few minutes to beat me.” Though his quest for his fifth Megabucks title would be short lived, the determination showed what Nixon was made of. While his career has already left an indelible mark on the sport of bass fishing, he still competes on the FLW Tour, and had sched- ules been aligned, Nixon would still be competing on the Bass- master Elite Series. He has proven himself time and time again, yet with the work ethic and dedication of a man twenty years his junior; he still pursues those fish his father taught him to love so many years ago. It has been said, that for an angler to be successful as a tourna- ment fisherman, he must be young in body but old in mind. Larry Nixon has always been both, that is why he is a Professional Angler, a role model, an inspiration to many, a Champion – a Legend of the Sport. BW

There are accomplishments that cre- ate the definition of a professional’s career, and there are individual moments that cre- ate indelible impressions that leave their own personal stamp on an industry; that signature moment of their career. For Nixon himself, his first Bassmas- ter Angler of the Year title in 1980 is the crowning achievement that provided the defining moment of his professional quest. “Winning the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1980 really made me believe I had a future in the sport,” Nixon said. “That was the moment that I felt like I had arrived as a professional angler, like I belonged out there.” While accomplishments and records certainly create the mural that is an an- gler’s career, there are moments within that point to the fortitude required to sur- vive in the brutally competitive sport of professional bass fishing. For Nixon, one

deFining A cAreer

July/August 2009