The Determined Gentleman & Champion…..Meet Bob Carr
The first time I met Bob Carr was in 2019. I had just learned from Eris Jones, a Saltwater Angler Contributing Writer and former SKA National Champion, that Bob had won the 2019 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament. I wanted to interview him and write a story on his team’s win. For some reason, I expected a somewhat cocky guy that had just won a big fishing tournament. I was wrong. Instead, the man on the other end of the phone conversation was a guy who was a mild-mannered gentleman. He told me about his U.S. Open win and the unique twists and turns that took him and his team to the winner’s platform. The story reminds me that an undergo can win if the determination is there. It was a conversation I’ll never forget and the beginning of our friendship. I later asked Bob to become one of the contributing writers for our Saltwater Angler online magazine. He agreed and has since become one of our most dependable consultants.
A few weeks ago, Bob discovered a lump on his jaw just below his ear. He went to his doctor and learned that the nodule was cancerous. A finding that we all fear can happen to us. A few weeks later the nodule was successfully removed. However, his challenge was not yet over. Bob still had a series of chemotherapy treatments ahead of him. This serious health concern came only a few weeks before Bob’s already dedicated plan to fish the U.S. Open with his team had been made. The win in the 2019 Open had to be won again. In a phone conversation a few days after his surgery, he told me that he was certain he wouldn’t be able to make the 2023 U.S. Open to again pursue the title. I could hear the disappointment in his voice. But as Bob always does, he remained positive even while knowing he would likely not be able to compete this year due to his recent surgery, combined with a series of cancer treatments only weeks away.
On October 2nd, I called Bob to see how he was making out with his recovery. He said he asked his doctor for permission to fish this year’s U.S. King Mackerel Tournament. His doctor told him to be careful and not overdo it, but he would agree to let him. Like before, I could read his feelings in his voice. While it was a tone of concern for the coming days of treatment, it was also one of delight to have the chance to regain the U.S. Open Championship title. Most of all, I think Bob’s positive tone was thanks to the fact that on October 5th and 6th, he was again going fishing. He would be in a place he loves and doing what he loves with his longtime fishing friends. For a few short days, his health concerns and coming treatments would take a backseat to the sound of a reel peeling off line as a fish swam away for his boat. It was a place he had been a thousand times, but this time it seemed to be a little more precious, a little more meaningful.
It’s amazing how one day we see our lives as normal and the next day something comes out of nowhere to change everything. Some of us give into it when others like Bob Carr look beyond and keep doing what they love and, in his case, it was fishing in the 2023 U.S Open King Mackerel Tournament and may I remind you, Bob was in it to win! That’s just who he is. Under that polite, somewhat soft-spoken demeanor is not only a heart of gold but a man with determination and faith in God.
Bob and his team unfortunately didn’t win this year’s U.S. Open, but they were there fishing hard as always. They did earn a cash prize for one of the fish they landed, but even though they did not win the big prize, he was happy to have entered the tournament. That was God’s gift. On Tuesday, Bob will go in for his first chemotherapy treatment. I already know that he may be a little nervous like any of us would be. But Bob will face it with a positive outlook. That’s the way he faces fishing and life and now medical issues. We can all stand to learn a lesson in positive thinking.
Oh yeah, if you plan to fish in the 2024 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, Bob Carr and his team will be back, and I sure wouldn’t bet against them. The determination on that boat will be overwhelming, especially from its Captain.
Thanks Bob, for giving us all a great example to follow!!!