By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Dicky Newberry will be one of 34 rookies on the FLW Tour in 2019, but the Texan will launch his pro career with a lot of high-level experience and a lot of winning already under his belt.
The 64-year-old Newberry, long one of the stalwarts on the highly competitive Lonestar State tournament scene, is finally ready to allow subordinates to run his Houston-based heating and air conditioning business for significant stretches of time. Meanwhile, he'll scratch an itch that's been plaguing him for many years.
"The Tour is something I've always wanted to fish," he said. "It's just that splitting my time between my regular job and fishing, I didn't feel like I could give either the attention that's required to be successful. I never had any intentions of going off to fish and letting my business suffer.
"Now I've got some guys at work who I can turn things over to and let them go with it, and we'll give the Tour a whirl and see what happens. I've been working toward this point for several years. I'll still be the owner, but I've got the right people in place to take care of the critical stuff when I'm gone."
Newberry's list of accomplishments in sub-Tour competition is a long one. Just with FLW, he's won a Series event and 11 BFLs and has qualified for the All-American five times, turning in two top-5 finishes in that event. His earnings with the organization amount to just under half a million dollars.
He found out on Monday that his application to fish at the organization's top tier had been approved. He's confident that he can be competitive on the Tour despite his advanced age for a rookie.
"I don't feel as old as I am," he said. "When I'm fishing, it always feels like the end of the day comes much too quick – I always feel like I can continue on. Still, I plan to go on a diet and get myself in a little better shape before the season starts."
He has a great chance to make some hay right away, as the season starts Jan. 10 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He owns a lake house there and it was the site of his Series win and six of his BFL triumphs.
He's hoping the tournament doesn't evolve into a big-weight slugfest.
"I know everybody at FLW and a lot of other people want to see that, but I don't," he said. "Any tournaments when I've done well there, it's usually been a really tough bite. I've occasionally done okay when everybody was catching them, but not that often.
"The tournament could totally be affected by the weather on those four days. The passage of a bad cold front could hinder a lot of things. It'd make it hard to move around might take away just about all the offshore stuff and the lower water temperatures would also have a big effect."
Will Have to Adjust
Newberry said he'll likely need to adjust his approach to tournaments at the Tour level. In addition to a lot of victories, his overall record also includes quite a few bombs, and that stems from a penchant to go for broke in pursuit of the win.
"I have a tendency to swing for the fence and some tournaments I do really bad," he said. "I'll have to change that mentality somewhat.
"I always try to set goals for anything I do and I'd like to go to the (Forrest Wood) Cup, but I have to handle it one tournament at a time. I need to learn to pace myself and just do the best I can and be realistic about each tournament.
"I'll try to do it pretty much on my own and not listen to a lot of talk. I'm looking forward to all of them and I'll just get more excited as the time nears. Things have been happening pretty fast and I'm just trying to get everything ready."
> Newberry's wife, Deal, recently retired from her position as a hospital administrative assistant and will be along at each Tour stop. "We've gone to some BFLs in Oklahoma and Arkansas and she really enjoyed it, so we'll try to expand on that."
> They're the parents of one daughter, Jennafer, who's a professional stage actress and singer in New York. For five years she played the lead role in Finding Nemo – The Musical at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.