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Author Topic: Wendell Studt Passes  (Read 1620 times)

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Wendell Studt Passes
« on: May 31, 2009, 08:55:30 AM »

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A Bass Fishing Legend Remembered

Wendell Studt Passes

A Michigan bass fishing legend, Wendell Studt, has passed away.  Wendell was a pioneer in bass tournaments from the start of Mid-State Bass Busters, a local club in the Ionia area to several national and regional trails including B.A.S.S., Tri-State, NBAA and more.  He was a regular at the Wednesday night opens on Jordan Lake near Lake Odessa. He also founded Wendell’s Wholesale Bait, one of the largest live bait distributors in the Midwest.  I was lucky enough to have known Wendell most of my life.  He and my father worked in the same factory in Hastings and they both started their businesses about the same time. 

Wendell  was in the first bass tournament I ever fished, and he probably won.  If he didn’t win, he still had a good story to tell about the day, I’m sure.  The first prize I ever won in a bass tournament was a “Wendell’s Wholesale Bait” hat.  Wendell slowed his tournament schedule as his Parkinson’s progressed, but I still saw him at the ramp this past season.  He was a regular at the diner in Woodbury and could be found sitting on a stool at Vern’s Sport Shop most any day.

I ran into Wendell recently and he told me that he was retiring from bass tournaments.  I bet him he wouldn’t be able to stay away long.  I lost the bet. 

And I lost the chance to hear one of Wendell’s classic stories again.  I’ve heard the same stories so many times, I can tell them myself, but they’ll never sound the same.  The story of “Ranger Dick” has been told so many times you knew all the words, like an old song you’d turn up on the radio so you wouldn’t miss it.   

And I lost the chance to be lectured on what I was doing wrong.  If you knew Wendell, you knew his opinions. He was a long time customer of K&E Tackle and Wendell never hesitated to let me know what I was doing wrong and to his credit, he always had a way I could correct the problem.  When I purchased NBAA, Wendell was ready.  I remember leaning on the back of a pickup truck, swatting mosquitoes as the sun set, getting a history lesson on everything wrong that every tournament director had ever done.  He even went so far as predicting what I would do wrong in the future, and I’m sure I proved him right.

We’ve all lost a great angler.  Wendell wasn’t a flashy, fancy shirt, polished boat angler.  He caught fish, he followed the rules, he won tournaments and he had the respect of every angler that knew him.  Wendell Studt will be sadly missed.

Jim Sprague

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