BassWestUSA - Spring, 2013, Page 49

through his veins, making it a vital part in his daily existence, and if they didn’t al- low him to do it, he said it would be a bitter pill for him to swallow. What’s more, after working for a local marina for a spell, Dion quickly realized that he didn’t want to spend his life working for someone else; he wanted to be his own boss, and he told his parents that the best way to do that was to become a professional angler. Guido and Stella Hibdon understood his request and ultimately concurred, and he competed in his first Bassmasters tourney on September 25-27, 1985, at the New York Invitiational on the St. Lawrence River, where he struggled to catch 7.1 pounds of bass and finished in 217 place. For the next several years Dion and his parents traveled together as they ventured from one tournament site to the next. At that time, Dion’s older sister and brother, Dotty and Chuck, were grown and out on their own, which made it un- necessary for the Hibdons to hurry home after each tourna- ment. Therefore, Dion and his parents would often be on the road from shortly after Christmas until late May. During the winter months, they spent a lot of time deciphering the ways of the bass that inhabit the natural waterways of Florida, and as spring unfolded elsewhere, they visited different reservoirs located at various corners of the nation. Throughout these marathon angling adventures, they had a double-stacked boat trailer so they could tow both of their boats with one vehicle. Dion and his father spent an incredible amount time on the water. He remembers that his mother would drive them to the boat ramp in the morning, where they would launch their boats, and then she would pick them up in the evening. Dion called it an extraordinary time that allowed him and his father to spend a lot of time together and garner an incredible amount of knowledge that continues to help them understand and unravel many of the goings on in the worlds of the largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.

Spring 2013