For the last few months I have been following a youngster by the name of Drew Clarke. Drew is 6 years old and a fishing fanatic. He’s a huge fan of professional bass fishing and the anglers have really rallied to provide him hope, support, and bring a smile to his face.  Anglers have sent Drew many items to provide sunshine on his cloudiest days while he battles cancer. It’s amazing to me to see professional anglers reach out in many forms to bring a smile to Drew’s face. It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last time the angling community reaches out in this manner.  

 

I am not sure where it came fom, but I came up with an idea for something to send to Drew about a month ago.  While covering the Bassmaster Classic for Bass Quest Magazine I would get as many anglers as I could reach during media day to send a shout out to Drew. I knew the guys would love to send him a message and I could do it easily within the confines of my tasks at media day. I didn’t get to nearly as many anglers as I wish I would have, but I did reach quite a few and they all provided a message to Drew.

 

After media day, I quickly spliced all the clips together and privately sent it over to Drew’s family via Facebook private messages.  The goal wasn’t to get attention, the goal was only to put a smile on a young child’s face. I sent it off and hoped it would brighten one of Drew’s days.  Apparently Drew really liked it because his family shared it on his Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/Fishingfordrew. The video from the anglers can be seen here. http://youtu.be/XCZU_gZGkVw

 

What transpired during this all important first Day of the Bassmaster Classic is a special shared experience between a professional angler and a 6 year old angler battling a terrible disease.  While I shot and edited the video, I really don’t have anything to do with what transpired except sharing of this story. A story that goes well beyond what I could have ever hoped for out of that short video.

 

Fred Roumbanis was one of the anglers who sent a message out to Drew.  In his message to Drew promised to dedicate his first fish of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic to Drew. Which isn’t a big deal until nearly three hours into his tournament day Roumbanis hooked into his first fish, Drew’s fish. Roumbanis landed the fish and estimated its weight at over nine pounds. Drew’s fish ended up being the biggest fish caught on the first day of the event.  Drew learned of the catch as he followed the action on Bassmaster.com’s Live Blog.  Photos from Bassmaster writer Pete Robbins and photographer James Overstreet, and GoPro video footage provided later by Shaye Baker let Drew and his family inside the boat for Fred’s catch in near realtime.

 

At the weigh-in an obviously choked up Roumbanis announced to the large Friday crowd that his first fish was for Drew and pulled the monster bass from his livewell. Drew’s reaction while following the weigh-in via Bassmaster.com’s live internet streaming, was filmed by his father. I couldn’t begin to describe it, instead see the three part video posting at these links.

 

Video 1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=819709888055401&set=vb.801159599910430&type=2&theater

 

Video 2

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=819711491388574&set=vb.801159599910430&type=2&theater

 

Video 3

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=819712144721842&set=vb.801159599910430&type=2&theater

 

Be sure to like and offer your support to Drew at his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Fishingfordrew

 

Anglers participating in the video Include: Keith Combs, Brent Chapman, John Murray, Todd Faircloth, Jonathon VanDam, Terry “Big Show” Scroggins, Cliff Crochet, Dean Rojas, Fred Roumbanis, Clifford Pirch, Hank Cherry, and Skeet Reese.  Note: In fairness to the other anglers, they weren’t offered the opportunity due to time restrictions or I am sure Drew might have had message from every angler in Birmingham this week for the event. Tom Leogrande