Two Days With Ray Scott
Last July, precisely the 20th and 21st, I had the opportunity to get to know B.A.S.S. president Ray Scott, the man who has turned fishing in a professional sport. A man like him can be considered as One of a Kind! In fact he is really a big showman, spectacular yet with a keen sense of friendship.
He was spending his summer holidays in Europe and, after a couple of weeks spent in Portugal, Spain and Holland, he had come down to Italy. What a thrill! I think I am really fortunate to have known Ray. From what I've heard, there are lot of American anglers that would love to spend an hour with him. I've spent two entire days with the "BASS Boss"! A unique experience, but let me tell you how it went.
Ray spent his first Italian week in Tuscany, a central Italy region, with a good friend of mine, Paolo Vannini, who was the founder of the Italian B.A.S.S. Federation. He told me that he really loved all the things he had seen in Tuscany, especially the ancient monuments, castles, the food, beverages and so on. From what I've understood, he's fond of rural areas, old houses and all the things connected with them. He didn't like as much visiting museums and similar stuff, he enjoys the outdoors and open spaces, like most of us. Back to Ray's trip.
As I've said previously, after spending a week in the beautiful Tuscany, he drove north to fish a bass tournament UNICLUB (is the association of all the Italian bass clubs) has organized for the occasion. A sort of "Ray Scott Invitational". After a Saturday night dinner and feast with lot of enthusiast Latin bassers, in which Ray spoke about the advantages connected to our affiliation to B.A.S.S. as national Federation, the man with the big cowboy hat was ready for his first encounter with Italian largemouth.
July, 20th at seven a.m., after a night of good sleep, I met Ray at the launch ramp, surrounded by lot of cheering bass anglers. Certain, he was lucky enough to be paired with one of the best bass anglers in the continent, Stefano Sammarchi, 1997 national champion and two times European champion at Lake Caspe in Spain (probably the best bass fishery in Europe and one of the best in the whole world). We were fishing Mantova Lakes, two shallow water basins that reminded Ray of some vegetation infested U.S. lakes. Lot of weeds, nymphs, bulrushes and other similar stuff. The tourney last about five hours so at 1:00 p.m. we had to come back to the weigh-in site. Ray went to weigh-in empty handed. Stefano said to me that Ray lost a good bass - a 2+ pounder - using a 3/8 oz. white/chartreuse buzzbait and that they were able to catch only a couple of dinks. That's life!
Ray and Massimo
After the weigh-in, Ray spoke to a screaming crowd and gave the prizes to the top five teams. Fine showman. A huge photo-autograph session started after the prize ceremony and I was concerned for Ray's wrist. I counted hundreds of autographed caps and shirts, along of thousand pictures shot. Following this barrage, Riccardo, my good fishing friend, and I took Ray to Riccardo's home, on the way to Padua, where I booked a hotel room for the BASS Boss.
L to R.....Marco Pasquato, Massimo, Ray, Ricardo Dalla Costa
Now, it's pizza time! We go to a good "Pizzeria" (sort of restaurant where you can eat only pizza) and spend the night talking about bass and other things. Ray stuffed his pizza with chili oil and chili powder, I don't know why he doesn't spit fire and flames while speaking. Maybe the good beer contributes to this. After the dinner, it was getting late, and we were ready for bed.
Monday morning Riccardo, Marco (another good friend, top ten Italian basser), and I picked up Ray at the hotel and took him to Venice. He told us he has been in this wonderful town a couple of times before and that he didn't want to see museums and celebrities but, instead, he want to visit the side of Venice where tourists never go. We tried to satisfy him and I guess we accomplished our task. We spent the whole day in Venice before taking Ray to the airport for the long flight to Alabama. A really interesting experience with a wonderful man.
I've received a letter of thanks from Ray few days ago, along with the pictures he has shot while we were in Venice.
Thanks Ray for your friendship and the time we've spent together!
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