Meet fishing’s newest wunderkind

If you think your work schedule is hectic and crowded, take a look at Jarrett Edwards’ day planner.
Edwards and his father own Blue Water Promotions, the two largest travelling demonstration fish tanks in the world.
Last year, they hauled the giant 41-foot long, five-foot wide, and five-foot deep glass aquariums in 53-foot long trailers to sport shows, special events, and fishing tournaments (they’re headlining the Bassmaster Classic again this year) in 47 of the United States.
I am guessing they missed Alaska and Hawaii, but I wonder what the other one was?
In addition to stocking the see-through tanks with local fish species, and even exotic animals like alligators and crocodiles, Edwards regularly climbs up the stairs at one end and gives instructional fishing seminars and casting lessons.
He did it more than 200 times last year.
And, he knows a thing or two about fish. Especially bass. Jarrett has a college degree in aquaculture, and he also holds the Colorado state record for largemouth having hauled in an 11-pound, six-ounce lunker.
And he competes full-time on one of the toughest bass circuits on the continent—the western division of the Bassmaster tournament trail.
When Jarrett has any time left over, you’ll find him running his guide service on sprawling Lake Powell—the second largest man-made lake in the world—along the Utah and Arizona border.
And when he’s doing none of these things, he is either writing for one of the three magazines that regularly publish his material or presenting his special “Living Your Dreams” seminar to school classes and youth groups.
He spoke to more than 10,000 youngsters last year.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that Jarrett Edwards is only 23-years old?
When I finally met up with fishing’s new wunderkind, it took about five seconds to realize this kid is something special. He had just returned from a rare day off, scouring the hot dusty desert country outside Page, Ariz. with a Navajo friend looking for arrowheads.
It was dark outside, but still hot, when I caught up with him. In the moonlight, I could see him attaching the trailer that coddled his 21-foot long Triton bass boat and 225 h.p. Mercury Optimax to the back of his shiny red tow vehicle.
When he saw me approaching, he stuck out his hand to greet me and then quickly apologized for his dusty attire. Within minutes, it was like we’d known each other for years.
I was even more impressed the next morning, however, when friend Russ Comeau, marketing director for Gary Yamamoto Bait Company, and I climbed into his boat after we had launched at Lake Powell.
The first thing Jarrett did was open the rod locker and hand us life jackets. Then he donned one himself and proceeded to tell me that he recently obtained his Coast Guard captain’s licence qualifying him to operate tugs and commercial vessels up to 100 tons.
Is there nothing this kid can’t do?
It seems not. Though I am sure he was capable of rocketing us along at the speed of light, we cruised the 80 miles up Lake Powell at an enjoyable half speed.
That is the street-smart difference between rookies and veterans, regardless of their real age. And why sponsors are flocking to the personable young pro. He is 23 going on 50.
“See that spot over there?” Jarrett asked, pointing to one of the few flat areas in the stunning desert wilderness of steep-sided canyons, mesas, and high sandstone gorges.
“That is where they filmed the movie ‘Maverick’ with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster.” At another spot, he slowed down to show us where the “Planet of the Apes” was filmed.
It was this bubbling enthusiasm, not to mention Edwards’ fishing skills, that knocked me over. He had a half-dozen spinning and baitcasting rods lying at his feet and he proceeded to pick them up whenever the conditions changed—even subtly—and catch fish.
Edwards’ light line techniques already are legendary. He uses gossamer thin four-pound test monofilament as a matter of course—even when he’s fishing big stakes tournaments on lakes choked with thick vegetation and flooded timber.
He believes he can impart more action to his soft plastic lures.
And he is turning heads. At the last tournament he fished, the 2002 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Jay Yelas, who also is leading in the race for 2003 Angler of the Year honours, was impressed enough seek out Edwards and ask him if he caught his fish on the light line.
Still, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. At one Bassmaster Pro/Am event, when the draw for partners was taking place, Edwards overheard two amateurs talking.
One of them said, “Man, did you hear there is a 23-year old kid fishing the tour this year? I sure hope I don’t draw him.”
The comment stung, but not for long. That’s because Edwards believes there is nothing he can’t—and won’t—achieve. And he bolsters that positive thinking with a mischievous wit that kept Russ and I in stitches all day.
“Gord, see that boulder over there?” Jarrett said, pointing to an underwater rock. “Cast to the tip of it. If you don’t catch a bass there, I’ll be wondering about your talent?
“Of course, if I catch it,” he continued without missing a beat, “it will be all skill. Now, if Russ lands it, it will be nothing but dumb luck.”
I wonder if Edwards’ parents would consider letting me adopt him? Or at the very least, sharing him on weekends?

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