Bradley Roy of Lancaster , Ky. , who celebrated his 19th birthday on Nov. 2, signed up Monday for the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series, becoming the youngest angler at the sport's highest level of pro competition.
"I know I'm young, but this has been my lifelong dream," he said. "This is what I want to do as a career, so this is a great opportunity, a jump start on my career."
Before Roy , the youngest Elite rookie had been Texas ' Corey Waldrop, who turned 20 early in the 2008 Elite season. Others included Luke Gritter of Kalamazoo , Mich. , who was 22 when he competed in the 2009 season, and Elite pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., who at 23 was the youngest on the 2007 Elite roster.
Roy was still 18 when he qualified Oct. 24 for the Elite Series by finishing fifth in points in the 2009 Bassmaster Southern Open trail. Only the top seven qualified.
Of the hundreds of 2009 Bassmaster Open anglers, only 21 earned invitations for the 2010 Elite season (seven from each of three Open divisions). Some anglers try for years to be among those who move up, but Roy advanced after his first Open season.
But Roy has been something of a wunderkind in BASS competitions. At age 13, he was the 2004 Bassmaster Junior World champion in the 11-14 age group. At age 17, he outperformed many other Kentuckians to earn the right to be the sole representative of his state in the 2008 BASS Federation Nation Championship.
In the Elite Series, Roy knows the game will become considerably tougher..
"Obviously, I'm going to make a lot of mistakes, but I try to learn from my mistakes," he said "Hopefully I can learn, then adapt quickly."
Another new challenge will be handling a grueling, eight-event regular-season schedule. The first tournament will be the March 11-14 Duel in the Delta out of Stockton, Calif.; the season closer will be the June 17-20 Sooner Run on the Arkansas River in Oklahoma. (To compete in the two-event Elite post-season for 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year honors, Roy would have to be one of 12 qualifiers.)
"The travel, I'm used to," Roy said. "The thing I worry about the most is the lakes I've never fished before."
While pro fishing is his chosen career, college is still in his future. He said he plans to continue with his online course work in business and marketing.
"That's how I fished the Opens this past year. It might take longer to get a degree, but it's how I can continue my education while I fish the Elites," he said.
He's now taking fall semester exams, all while working on building a stable of sponsors. He said he has verbal commitments from several companies and is close to a boat wrap.
"This is my dream coming true, so I'm working hard, staying positive, and putting all I can into making sponsorships happen," he said.
RODS BY DUCKETT: Bassmaster Elite Series pro and 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett of Demopolis , Ala. , last week announced the formation of a company to design and manufacture high-end rods named MicroMagic.
Joining Duckett in his new venture, Duckett Fishing LLC, are rod designer Ken Whiting and Sean Schulyer. Duckett plans to continue with his transportation business which, like the rod company, is based in Demopolis.
MicroMagic rods feature "microguide" technology, which increases casting distance and accuracy, according to the company. The rods will be sold on Duckett's new Web site, www.duckettfishing.com (now under construction), before being offered at retail stores.
Duckett, who was the first Classic champion to take the crown in his home state, said he plans to use MicroMagic rods when the Classic returns to Lay Lake and Birmingham , Ala. , on Feb. 19-21.
DB AND K-PINK: "DB," as in award-winning Bassmaster.com writer and self-described non-angler Don Barone , and "K-Pink" as in Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Bassmaster.com blogger Kevin Short, are working on a book together.
Word is the book will be based on several pieces on which the two collaborated.
MONROE ON MAKEITPRO TV. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ish Monroe will be appearing on MakeItPro TV on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET. The interview will be streamed live here. Interviewing Ish will be award-winning journalist Gary Baumgarten, formerly of CNN.
DEAR SANTA: We have been good anglers all year (so far). All we want for Christmas is for you to consider a wardrobe makeover. Maybe, just this once, you would consider ditching the funky red suit, and perhaps wear BASS Stuff instead?
That red material is not, we are sure, a breathable, UV-protective, antimicrobial, 3xDRY fabric like so many of the BASS Stuff pieces now on sale available here. And on sale means a deeply-discounted sale, as in less-than-half-price.
And Santa, not to be too personal, but can we talk about your accessories? The rib-digger black belt? The skyscraper boots with black marking soles? (Not on my dock or boat, thank you.) And the hat? Truly, that floppy look does nothing for you - hides your twinkly eyes, your best feature. Could you just take a look at the great BASS Stuff hats?
And hey, you could be stylin' underneath the red suit! Just in case you get to stop by a party or somewhere fun on your way home to the North Pole. And layering would keep you warmer. While we assume you are indeed magical (the chimney stunt? the flying reindeer? The 'round-the-world-in-one-night act?), you must get cold from time to time, so check out the BASS Stuff outerwear page, especially the fleece vests, turtlenecks, hoodies and windshirts (like the other items, all highly discounted).
Oops, almost forgot to mention: A lot of BASS Stuff comes in extra-extra large sizes. Hope you are not offended by this straight talk of wardrobe makeovers. If so, we have 24 days to make amends. Whatever happens, we still will leave cookies and milk for you under the tree.
- From your fans down here in BASS land
P.S.: Hey, Santa - you know those anglers who asked you for a Bassmaster or BASS Times subscription? No sweat. You can get subscriptions for them online, 24/7, at Bassmaster.com.
P.P.S: Need any sleigh-stuffers? How about BASS 40th anniversary pins? There're some left (a steal at $1.99 each) on the BASS Stuff accessories page. And there are really nice BASS logo tees and shirts. Mrs. Santa would love one.