And when it comes to professional bass anglers, that statement is no better epitomized than by the legendary Rich Clunn (left), who, at the age of 69, turned some heads back in March, when he won a Bassmaster pro event on the St. Johns River in Florida. "All of a sudden," wrote Dave Wolak, "the question of how old is too old to be a successful tourney angler sprung up on the interwebs.
"To set the record straight," continued Wolak, "Rick Clunn is no ordinary 69-year-old guy who casually takes a spin around his favorite cove with a spinnerbait once a week, or plays a slow cart-assisted nine holes at the local golf club on Sunday morning. He's in very good physical and mental shape. I've fished around him numerous times, and he casts enough in 20 minutes to make a 20-year-old tired just watching him. And he'll be the first to tell you that his success stems from the cohesiveness of his mind and body working together. All anglers, regardless of age, can learn something from Clunn.
"For example, an older angler might take it slow and not beat himself up running 50 miles in sloppy conditions, but he also might know how to catch more bass in a shorter period of time once he gets there. Likewise, his bank of wisdom might help him out-fish the throttle-punching crew by simply staying local because he's put in a lot more time and has a better understanding of using time wisely in a tourney setting. When I was younger, my strategy was to outwork the old guys. Sometimes it worked, but often it didn't.
Blaukat put the whole matter in perspective by saying, "Ultimately, the great thing about tournament fishing is that it doesn't really matter how old you are. Where else can you compete on a professional level at 70 years old?" he asked before adding, "That's what makes it the greatest sport on Earth."