KW: When you meet these pros and spent a little bit of time talking with them, you realize that they are just everyday people just like you that love fishing. It’s really neat talking about the life of a touring pro and being on the road as much as they are and then you realize that is not as easy as it seems on TV. By fishing next to these pros you try to do your best with a lot of confidence
BW: What do you consider to be your one most important key to success in competing effectively from the back seat? KW: You have to learn that you are not competing against the pro but you are fishing in your own tournament; you can’t worry about what the pro is doing and how many fish they have caught. I have great confidence in my abil- ity that if there are fish around I can catch them. You have to be patient – always remember you can put 5 fish in the boat in less than 30 minutes.
BW: Ken, you won the Amateur side of the West’s biggest tournament, the U.S. Open on Lake Mead in 2012. Since this is a 3-day shared weight event, what did you do to contribute to the catch each day of the event? KW: First of all, winning the AAA side of the U.S. Open this past season was one of my crowning accomplish- ments and I am very proud of it since as a shared weight event, I contributed heavily to each day’s stringer. I fished on the first day with Roy Hawk and caught two of our keeper fish, including the biggest fish of the tournament, a 4.94 pound largemouth. On the next two days of the tournament, I caught fish on an equal par with my pros and I believe – I say believe since we caught and culled so many similar sized fish – that 3 of the 5 fish limit we presented at the scales I caught.
BW: As co angler, who do you go about getting sponsors? KW: Sponsorships are obtained in the same way as a pro would get them. It is a bit harder however as a back- seater in that you have to prove a greater value for what you do. Just like a pro, I have a wrapped boat and promote sponsors through time spent at consumer shows and in shop seminars. All in all, it takes a lot of homework, foot- work, contacts, and e-mails to obtain and keep sponsors. I am currently sponsored by Dobyns Rods, Santa Barbara Sportfishing Charters, Black Gold Roofing Company and Pacific Petroleum Company.
BW: Ken, thanks for your input. All of us here at Bass West USA magazine wish you continued success. BWU
Photo by Bill Mays