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The Inspiring Side of Skeet Reese You've Never Heard Before

If you're a longtime fan of professional bass fishing, it's all but impossible to not see the presence that California angler Skeet Reese has had in the sport.

The Inspiring Side of Skeet Reese You've Never Heard Before

(Rob Matsuura photo)

Professional bass angler Skeet Reese has driven a huge outsize truck that pulls his yellow and black Ranger bass rig from one tournament site to another. Places where he has made winning fishing derbies look routine while capturing trophies as diverse as the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title in 2007, the Bassmaster Classic in 2009, and most recently, the Bass Pro Tour Stage One event earlier this year on Florida’s famed Lake Okeechobee.

In all, Reese is a certain bet to become a Hall of Famer in a sport where he has captured 11 tournament titles, moved into the sport’s all-time Top-5 earners list with more than $3.5 million in career winnings, and a savvy business presence that sees him represent some of the biggest sponsor names in angling, including Grundens.

The Auburn, Calif., resident has done it all with an extra-large presence, laughing, smiling, and energetically hoisting up big fish for the cameras while giving media members funny and memorable quotes that have helped cement Reese’s upper echelon spot in the modern bassing game.


So, it’s unexpected, striking really, when you see Reese without the spotlight shining brightly, fiddling with tackle in his boat garage back home, admitting that behind the confident persona and stage presence that most see, he—like so many others—hears the ghostly whispers of doubt threatening to creep in and derail everything.


"I don't think there was ever one moment where I thought like 'I am good!',” said Reese. “I always questioned 'Am I good enough?' That inner doubt, that fear, still drives me to this day. It still pushes me because I never felt like I was the best."

Even though he often was. While some might expect a short film detailing Reese’s biggest wins and the huge fish catches that have punctuated trips to the weigh-in stage on one circuit and smiling moments of triumph in front of the TV cameras on another circuit, the simple beginnings that Reese started from have served as a humbling rudder that guides his career trajectory to this very day.

In this striking video, Reese talks quietly about times early in his career when he had a boat repossessed, almost had his home repossessed, was evicted, and became homeless as he faced failure on multiple occasions, shortcomings that nearly drove him from the sport he had loved since he was a kid.

But even in the darkest moments, the dream that had burned brightly in his angling soul since he was young kept flickering, kept pushing him not to give in.


“I told myself, ‘I’m going to give it one more try,’” said Reese. “I just never wanted to live with regrets the rest of my life.”

He won’t do so, of course, since the brush with his angling dream’s demise has gone on to propel Reese to the highest levels of success in this most American sport, the casting of a lure into the shadowy waters of a mysterious water body, convinced that there is a big bass waiting to pounce somewhere nearby.

Today, Reese is an American success story, someone who has nearly lost it all before rising from the ashes to capture everything he had ever dreamed of—career immortality, financial success, and a loving family to share it all with.


The story of Skeet Reese is certainly a stirring tale and worth a few minutes of one’s time to watch the fall and subsequent rise from the basement of bass fishing to the highest pinnacle of the angler’s sport.

Better yet, hearing Skeet and his wife Kim tell their story in their own words will also prove to be inspiring, even serving as fuel for someone else’s rise through this most captivating of sports, the art of catching more bass than anyone else.

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