It's 11:30 a.m. on the first day of practice. In less than 72 hours, Tundra Pro Terry Scroggins will play put up or shut up in the next Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, where the winner gets $100,000, and those who fail to make the top 50 places go home with no paycheck.
Yet, Scroggins allows his practice to be interrupted by a cell phone call from fellow bass pro and former Kentucky Derby jockey Kevin Wirth. Scroggins says, "Yeah, I'm catching them. You need to try a Texas-rigged Yum Dinger on a ½-oz. weight in the flooded bushes with 8 ft. of water on them near the front of the creek mouths."
As a media observer and weekend tournament junkie, I'm in total disbelief. Scroggins makes his living by his ability to locate and catch bass in the heat of competition against the best freshwater anglers in the world. Yet, here he is telling Wirth, a 9-time Classic qualifier, every detail he's worked hard to find since sunrise this morning.
I admit to Scroggins I'm in shock, and he explains. "What you gotta understand is this is our livelihood. We get three days to figure it out, or we don't get paid, and guys realize that working together increases your chances of getting a paycheck. But, just as importantly, I can fully trust that the help I give Kevin Wirth today is going to come back around someday soon when I'm struggling to catch them," said Scroggins, who later in the week figured out the pattern that led to catching five bass that weighed 44 pounds.
Scroggins finished in 2nd place to win $42,000, while Wirth was 38th and took home $10,000.
Indeed, it pays to play well with others.