Riding along with Joey E., part 1

He's at it again. One of Joe Everett's early season largemouth hookups. (Photo courtesy Joe Everett).

I’ve done a two-hour radio show every Saturday morning for the past 10 years, so it’s pretty rare that I spend a conversation about fishing – especially about trophy bass fishing – with my mouth shut for 45 minutes. That happens every time my cell phone’s caller ID reads “Joey E,” though.

Especially this time of year.

In case you’ve never poked around on the internet, read our magazine, or had even a passing interest in the sport of bass fishing, Joey E. is last month’s cover model, a frequent source for bass stories, and easily one of the most prolific trophy bass hunters in the world. He’s the only guy in the world who’s genuinely on the largemouth “world record watch” every single year,  and my personal best bet to unseat Manabu Karita as the International Game Fish Association’s all-tackle recordholder.

Besides, Joe’s interesting as hell, and very simply a good cat.

April issue preview: Chatting with Everett in the final days before he kicked off his current season, it was obvious that he was busier than usual. He had built a slick new casting deck on top of the existing deck on his spiffy new Sun Country TZX 170 Skeeter, taken delivery of a new Torqeedo 4.0 electric outboard, respooled all his Ardent/Phenix whuppin’ sticks and taken delivery of a slew of sick new baits that he and Brad Kowalski of Big Bait Brotherhood designed specifically for Everett’s world-record-class largemouth opponents.

Consequently, Joe was a little spooled up, and anxious to talk fishing.

“Dude, my hair is on fire right now,” Everett admitted as he made final adjustments on the new boat deck (which he designed and built himself) in preparation for his first scouting days on Mission Viejo Lake. “My world is so crazy now, you can’t even begin to understand it.”

And then I asked Joe a question about targeting trophy largemouth. Off to the races we went as the world’s foremost true world-record hunter held forth on everything from baits to line to boat positioning to Taco Del Mar to “fish psychology” to sunglasses to surfboards. It was all related, in a weird but oddly sensible way.

Listening to Joe Everett talk about largemouth bass is like listening to Gary Loomis talk about steelhead, and Lefty Kreh talk about casting a fly: there’s something in the way they communicate their passions that nobody else can match.

Finally, I stopped him: “Joe. Buddy. Write it down.”

And write it down he did, with his “I drank the Kool-Aid” piece that you’ll find here on the CS website.

I say it every year, and I mean it: maybe this will be the year that Joey E. finally catches the unicorn he’s been chasing since 1998. You’re welcome to follow along.
-Joel Shangle