Herb Nagy has been fishing bass tournaments for more than a decade. A reeler all his life, Nagy got into tournament fishing when he gave up stock car racing.
“I like competition and I like fishing,” he said. “So, when I wasn’t racing anymore, I figured I could compete fishing.”
Although he worked in auto body repair for 30 years and could do much of the work himself, stock car racing was starting to eat away at the bottom line.
“People tell me how expensive bass fishing is,” he says. “I tell them they should try rebuilding a car every week.”
Tournaments and pleasure fishing have taken Nagy from Southern Texas to Northern Minnesota, and as far east as South Carolina.
“I was in Ely, Minnesota for 10 days, and we fished a different lake every day,” he recalled. “Fishing for smallmouth and walleye.”
The Independence, Missouri native still calls the Kansas City area home, and the Harry S Truman Reservoir is his home fishery.
“I call it Truman Lake,” Nagy says. “I like it because it’s mostly folks out fishing. Not too many jet skis, skiers, or pleasure boaters because of all the submerged trees.”
The trees protrude above the surface in many places: All that structure is bad for water skiing, but good for bass fishing. Which is something Nagy would like to do more of.
Over the past five years, Nagy’s been running bass tournaments for Anglers in Action and the Big Bass Bash — the latter of which attracts 4,000 anglers to its tournaments every year.
This year there will be four tournaments in the Big Bass Bash. Two will take place on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, one will be in Alabama in May, and they’ll hold another competition in Oklahoma in June. Reelers target largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted (Kentucky) bass, all of which count equally toward the weight.
“It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it,” Nagy says. “I know all the guys from fishing with them.”
As much as he likes the work, Nagy would rather be out on the water with the other reelers.
“I’m trying to cut back, so I can do more fishing myself,” he says.
When asked how a reeler can get started with tournament fishing, the Bass Pro Shops pro recommends spending as much time on the water as you can.
“Nothing is better than just practicing,” Nagy says. “You’ve got to get out on the water.”
And out on the water — whether competing in a tournament or fishing for pleasure — is where Nagy prefers to be.
“It’s a break from reality,” he says.
And a break from realty. Nagy got his real estate license, so he’d have something to do outside tournament season.
“It gets a little slow in the winter,” he says.
All in all, though, Nagy would rather be on a boat.
“I just enjoy being in the outdoors. I like the peace and quiet.”