The summer of 2010 is history and Skeet Reese is well into his off-season routine, which includes a lot of youth soccer games and other family-type activities as well as the daily demands of operating Skeet Reese Inc. He said his anticipation of the next Bassmaster Elite Series season is much keener than it was a month ago, but he refuses to talk about the well-chronicled end of the most recent campaign that saw a second straight Angler of the Year (AOY) title slip from his grasp under the circuit's controversial post-season format.
"I don't even want to go there," said the Californian, who notched six Top-10 finishes (including two wins) during a dominant regular season. "That was then and this is now. Last season's done."
This is the time of year when the father of two elementary school-age daughters lives a "regular" life – business during the daytime, family time in the evenings and activities on the weekends with wife Kim and the girls. He does everything he can to get the most out of it because it goes by quickly, and soon he'll be back into the grind of his 14th tour-level season.
"This is the most important time to me, when I get to be a full-time husband and daddy, and being away from the tour is a nice break. I love being home and having the girls running around and jumping in the bed, reading books and stories with them, playing on the swing set, riding bikes, going to the golf range – whatever it is."
Other than a couple of giveaway trips on which he'll serve as a guide (including one with Philadelphia Phillies ace pitcher Roy Halladay), he likely won't even attempt to catch a bass during the remainder of the year.
"I hardly ever fish for bass recreationally during the off-season. Some guys like to keep going to try to maintain their edge, and it works for them, but I need a break to get fired up for the following season.
"A few months from now I'll be frothing at the mouth again and I'll be ready to get out there and hunt and destroy. I'll ramp up bit by bit and by January, I'll be ready to get out of my cage and run hard."
Hashing out the Details
Reese said he averages 30 hours of work per week during the off-season tending to his continually expanding business enterprise (which now includes all sorts of black and yellow logo merchandise, from fishing gear to clothing to Frisbees) and ironing out all of the logistical details for the coming season. For example, he spent much of this week attempting to nail down lodging arrangements for each 2011 tour event.
Next year's schedule includes two venues he's never been to – the St. Johns River in Florida and West Point Lake in Georgia. He has no history to fall back on in regard to accommodations at those places, but he says he's not all that picky.
"I'll do whatever works best at a particular place," he said. "I enjoy renting houses because you can have home-cooked meals and all that, but good parking is all that really matters.
"I need to have parking for the big rig (his Ford F-650). If I have that, everything else falls into place. It could be a $29.99-a-night Motel 6 or whatever."
Unlike some pros who travel with their families, he has only himself to worry about. Kim and the girls will attend the Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans, but after that, school will take top billing. The couple doesn't view home-schooling as a viable option.
"I'm not saying (home-schooling) isn't good, but I still believe there's a lot to be learned from public schools, like all the social skills. Book-smarts aren't everything. I've built my career on relationships and common sense, and I don't think you can get that through home school."
Reese's dominant regular season included two wins and four other Top-5 finishes in eight events.
No Trip to Texas
Reese opted to decline his invitation to the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, which will take place at Lake Conroe the first weekend of October. He'll be one of only three anglers in the Top 30 of the BassFan World Rankings not in attendance (he's been No. 1 on that list for several months now).
"It's basically a 5-day trip for me to get there and back, and that's a lot of travel time," he said. "The bottom line is I thought it was more important to spend the time with my family."
He's given the 2011 Classic a bit of thought, but not much yet. The mental energy he's expended on it so far concerns whether he should make a pre-practice trip – which is something he almost never does.
"The Louisiana Delta is so big, and I'm sure it looks different than the last time I was there (for the '03 Classic). I'm thinking about running down there and spending 3 or 4 days – I'd just borrow a boat from somebody and ride around instead of driving.
"This is the first time I've really considered something like that, and the hard part is finding the time on my schedule. From now through December, I'll be pretty busy trying to get things wrapped up."
> Reese's off-season won't be totally devoid of fishing – he'll pursue steelhead on Northern California's renowned Trinity River and will do some blue-water angling in Mexico.