Chasing a Dream

Ken Eddy is working to qualify for the BASS Pro Tour

After fighting fires for 32 years, Madera resident Ken Eddy has hung up his fire hose and is chasing his other passion – fishing.

Eddy didn’t just retire, take up fishing, and then decide he could compete against the best of the best; he has been fishing for more years than he can remember. He has also been competing in local tournaments and team tournaments throughout the state for a number of years.

“In 1996 Nick Beck, battalion chief for Madera city, and me entered a WON Bass team tournament on Millerton,” said Eddy. “We were fishing out of his little aluminum Tracker bass boat. We won the tournament and Nick got hooked. He started fishing more and bought a better bass boat. He later told me, ‘Damn you Eddy, you’ve ruined me.’”

Eddy kept fishing local club tournaments and team tournaments, and then in 1998 he started fishing the amateur side of Pro/Am tournaments. In his first year fishing as an amateur, he placed second in the amateur of the year contest for WON Bass.

In 2002 Eddy stepped up and took control of the boat and started fishing on the pro side and did very well. Then he started dreaming of fishing the two major tour events, BASS and FLW tours.

“Two years ago I finished 27th for the year in the FLW Everstart tournaments, qualifying me for the tour,” said Eddy. “But I was still working and the tours cost a lot of money and require more time than I could commit to. I couldn’t go. But, now that I’m retired I am working to make my dream come true.”

Eddy has already fished two of the FLW Everstart tournaments and didn’t fare too well, making it nearly impossible to qualify for their tour events. Now he is focusing on the qualifying for the BASS Tour. BASS will hold three Opens in the West this year and to qualify Eddy will have to finish in the top 15. If he accomplishes his goal, he will be making the trip back east next year and fish with legends of the sport.

With Eddy’s retirement comes the luxury of being able to spend more time on the water.

“My wife Doreen is wonderful,” said Eddy. “When I was working I would spend time at work and then go fishing, lucky for me, she is very understanding. When I talked to her about buying a bass boat that would cost more than $30,000 she said, ‘Well, if you’re going to spend that much money at least make it a pretty one.’” “Time spent training is the key to being successful in professional fishing. There is nothing like experience to help you make the right decisions at the right time. Right now I fish close to 20 tournaments each year and spend 80 to 100 days on the water. A lot of the professionals I know spend upwards of 200 days on the water. The more time you spend training the more you hone your instincts. Knowing when to change, and why, is how tournaments are won.”

Steve Sapp, a bass professional in Manteca, and one of the winningest professionals on the California Delta, has fished with Eddy and said, “Ken is a great guy. He is fun to be around; he knows what he’s doing. He has to set the hook a little harder but other than that I think he can compete with anyone.”

We’ll keep an eye on Ken Eddy and see how he does this year. If you are chasing your dream of being a bass pro, let NBW News know about it. We are following Garrett Mercer and Ken Eddy. We would like to know how you are doing. Contact NBW News at