By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Ramie Colson Jr. has failed to qualify for the last four Forrest Wood Cups, but the Kentuckian stands an excellent chance of breaking that futility streak this year. He's 20th in the Angler of the Year race with two Tennessee River events remaining, including the finale on Kentucky Lake, where he's a bona fide ace.
Is it mere coincidence that he's experiencing success in his first year of rooming with Andy Morgan on the road? Probably so, but spending so much time around a competitor who's that hot certainly hasn't hurt matters.
"Andy is Andy and I've known him for many years," the Kentuckian said of the world's top-ranked angler and defending Tour Angler of the Year. "We're just pretty comfortable around each other, and that helps a lot. He's just happy-go-lucky and it doesn't seem like anything ever bothers him.
"We're not really sharing a lot as far as info – fishing-wise, he's basically a machine and he does his own thing. In the evening (after a practice day) we'll eat dinner and drink a beer and go over how the day went and I might pick up a tidbit from him, but you're never going to get much out of him."
Colson, who still operates a concrete-finishing business during the offseason and between tournaments, has earned a paycheck in all four events this year, with a season-best showing of 14th at Hartwell. He narrowly missed out on last year's Cup following a 42nd-place finish in the points and has not concluded a campaign higher than that since he was 12th in '09.
He even collected money (albeit a minimal check) at Beaver Lake this year – something he hadn't accomplished in eight previous visits.
"It really has been a good year," he said. "The only tournament that I wasn't really happy with was Rayburn. I was in 7th place after the first day, and then to fall as far as I did (all the way to 60th) was disappointing.
"One of the main things is having such good (sponsorship) backing behind me. There were times in the past where I was fishing check to check, but this has been one of the most stress-free years I've had since I've been doing this. The timing of everything has come together perfectly and I couldn't be happier doing what I'm doing or with the people I'm doing it with."
He's in his second year with restaurant chain Long John Silver's as his primary sponsor. He also has a solid non-endemic deal with lender Sheffield Financial, which is a byproduct of his friendship with game-call makers Harold Knight and David Hale, and he joined Morgan this year on the Bullet Boats pro staff.
The Long John Silver's was one he didn't seek out – it came to him. Farid Rostampour, a Tennessean who competes in regional events up to the Rayovac level and has fished the Tour as a co-angler, owns 16 of the restaurants stretching from Paducah, Ky. to Jackson, Tenn. Rostampour approached Colson via a third party.
"I'd seen him around a few buddy tournaments at Kentucky Lake and I knew him well enough to say hello," Colson said. "He asked a friend of mine if he though I'd be interested in having him sponsor me, and I said 'Well, yes.' I about had to pick my mouth up off the ground.
"We fish together some and he's just a great guy. He knows what it's like to have to struggle to support a family."
Familiar Venues Remain
Colson has only four or five tournaments worth of experience at Pickwick Lake, the site of the next Tour event in early June, but is entirely comfortable with the venue simply because it's a Tennessee River impoundment and the bodies on that chain have a lot of similarities.
Later that month, he'll be right at home when the regular season wraps up at Kentucky Lake. He's never finished lower than 21st in four Tour derbies there and notched a 4th in 2011.
"I'm planning a trip to Pickwick for the latter part of next week just to look around a little bit," he said. "I think the fish are going to be in between (spawn phases) and you'll be able to catch them just about anywhere you want. Just like at home, a lot of those fish are behind schedule because of the cold winter.
"When we get to Kentucky Lake, they'll be (offshore), for sure. That'll definitely be a ledge bite."