CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If you can’t be relaxed at home, where can you be relaxed?

That’s the attitude expressed by Jason Quinn, a contender in the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer whose hometown, Lake Wylie, matches the name of the site of this year’s world championship of bass fishing.

“I’m probably a little more relaxed than I should be,” said Quinn, 32. “But, you know, I’m fishing here at home, a place I fished my whole life and grew up on.

“When you’re on your hometown lake fishing the Bassmaster Classic, it’s pretty relaxing, to be honest with you.”

Apparently it’s a contagious sentiment.

“There are no tensions. There’s no stress. So we’re just enjoying ourselves,” said Quinn’s wife, Taffi, who is expecting twins in December.

Quinn’s whole image is laid-back. He sports a soul patch on his chin, long hair (“I don’t have much on top anymore, so I’ve got to keep what I’ve got”) and three sets of earrings – one-karat diamonds up high and gold hoops below. To top that, he went to school with Fred Durst, the singer for, get this, Limp Bizkit, while growing up in Gastonia, N.C.

Now if Quinn wants to break the disheartening trend of Classic competitors who perform poorly on their hometown lakes (aka the Classic Curse), he’d better hope that calmness translates to confidence and that that puts bass in the boat.

After all, being the local angler isn’t all fun and games.

“In tournaments in general, and certainly in Classics, the hometown guy never wins,” Quinn said.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me; those are big shoes to fill. But I’ve been around the area my whole life. I’m comfortable with fishing the lake. So I’m looking forward to it. And I hope to fill those shoes this week.”

Quinn is banking on what he considers two advantages to break the Curse: his vast knowledge of the lake and the ability to cope with boat traffic.

“Lake Wylie is a small lake; the fish only swim on certain places and they only eat in certain places,” he explained. “The lake is small enough that you can fish the whole lake in one day. You can utilize a lot of different patterns. It doesn’t take long to get on something over there. And the only advantage I’ve got is that if I get on something over there, I know where to duplicate it all over the lake.”

As to the question of traffic and the concerns other contenders have expressed, Quinn says, “That’s just something we’ve dealt with, you know, forever. We’re used to fishing in that, and a lot of these guys are not used to fishing in that.”

One more note to bass fans: While Quinn is listening to “a lot of hip-hop” – to complement his background in hard rock and alternative music – he won’t be doing any Michael Iaconelli breakdancing or other moves on stage should he be featured in the spotlight.

Military man receives Lifetime BASS Membership

Veteran West Virginia BASS Federation member Maurice L. “Moe” Parent II was set to fish the amateur division of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour event at Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina in March. However, well before the tournament dates rolled around, his orders – his second set – came in.

Parent, a sergeant in the West Virginia Army National Guard, was deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in February 2003with the 156th Military Police Detachment Law and Order.

He served his tour and returned home in April, missing the Santee-Cooper event by four weeks. “It saddens me, talking about it again,” he said.

However, Parent got a once-in-a-lifetime surprise at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic when he was presented with a Lifetime BASS Membership prior to the weigh-in on Day 1 of the world championship of bass fishing.

“In recognition of service to his country and as a loyal member of BASS,” the certificate reads.

Parent was invited to the event as guest but had no idea BASS was to recognize him for his military service. He was given no indication about what was to transpire before he reached the stage, in front of a large crowd.

“It’s been a goal of mine for a long time to be involved in BASS and fish in a Bassmaster event. I really got a rush. It meant a lot getting it from Dean Kessel. I was able to meet Ray Scott, and that was awesome. I got a photo of me and Ray this morning.”

He dedicated the award to the other members of BASS who are serving in the military.

Parent’s nonrefundable entry fees for the Santee-Cooper event were reimbursed and he has been told he will be rescheduled to fish an upcoming BASS event.

Lowrance displays latest technology

Lowrance Electronics held a special luncheon Friday for members of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic media corps at Fuel Pizza in Charlotte to show off its new line of marine electronics.

BASS pros Shaw Grigsby and Steve Daniel pointed out the highlights of the all-new color depth finders and features of the new electronics systems.

For additional information, visit www.bassmaster.com.