UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Nixon Ready for Fresh Start

Nixon Ready for Fresh Start
Larry Nixon

At 69 years young, Larry Nixon still has the passion and drive for bass fishing that he had when he started competing in major tournaments some 40 years ago. That’s probably why he’ll be back to compete in his 23rd year of professional fishing with FLW when the FLW Pro Circuit kicks off in 2020.

Except 2020 will be different for the General. He’ll miss the season opener on Sam Rayburn and stop No. 2 at the Harris Chain. In fact, he might not get to launch a boat for the 2020 Pro Circuit until stop No. 4 or 5 in April. The delay is to allow Nixon time to recover from a shoulder surgery that’s scheduled for later this month. He’ll be allowed to join the Pro Circuit late via a medical exemption.

Nixon has never been one to let a medical speed bump slow him down. He underwent a quadruple bypass, valve replacement and repair for a heart murmur after the FLW Cup back in 2016, and even that couldn’t keep him from rolling back stronger in 2017, when he posted a 19th-place finish on the FLW Tour. So, even though shoulder surgery isn’t how the veteran wants to start his season, don’t expect him to be anything less than competitive when he returns.

 

Larry Nixon

Enough is enough

Shoulder issues aren’t a new phenomenon to the Quitman, Ark., pro. He’s dealt with pain in his right shoulder from arthritis and wear and tear for more than a decade. This season, it finally reached a point where he decided to try a permanent solution.

“My shoulder started wearing out about 12 years ago, and it got to the point where I couldn’t do anything,” says Nixon. “So, I went to my doctor, and he gave me a shot to help it, and it lasted six months. Then I’d get another shot, and when the pain came back I’d get another shot. Then the doctor warned me that I was on my last shot, and if it didn’t work we’d have to do something to fix it. Well, that shot lasted five years, and then about four or five years ago the pain started coming back. I’ve been fishing on shots for the last 10 years.”

The shots are a combination of cortisone and lidocaine, which were effective for a while, but before competing in the FLW Cup this past August Nixon found out how bad things really were.

“I got an MRI before the Cup, and my doctor told me it [my shoulder] was pretty bad. There’s no cartilage left. I got a shot before I fished the Cup, and it lasted only two weeks. I’ve spent the rest of the time since then trying to figure out what I should do, but if I can’t put a shirt, jacket or rain coat on without crying, it’s time to get something done.”

Nixon is still waiting to hear when he’ll have the surgery. The Clinton Hospital, which is just down the road from his house, has said Dec. 17 and Dec. 23 are possible dates for the surgery. Though, he’s worried it might get pushed into early January.

“The surgery is going to be a total replacement,” he adds. “There’s nothing left to go in and repair. It’s similar to what Denny Brauer got done. I talked with Denny a lot about it and where he got it done, but I wanted to do it closer to my house because you have to go in for checkups so much. But Denny is excellent now. It’s a big deal, but not a big deal nowadays. Hopefully it’ll be a good fix.

“It’ll be at least a three-month layoff after the surgery – sometimes even longer. They won’t let you drive for a couple weeks, and after a month and a half or so you can do a lot of things, but nothing physical. That’s why I hope to be back for Hartwell and Dardanelle [in late April and early May, respectively].”

While the thought of missing a few tournaments eats away at him, Nixon might be more tore up about having to miss one of his other favorite things in the world – duck hunting.

“It’s pretty disappointing to know I’m going to miss the whole month of January because that’s when I love chasing ducks. I’m also going to miss going to Harris. That’s one of my favorite holes. Of course, Rayburn is the same way. If we were going somewhere else during that time it wouldn’t bother me, but since it’s a couple of my favorite lakes it’s a pain. But I’ve got to get it done. There’s no other way around it.”

 

Larry Nixon

Fishing for fun

Nixon expects to finish the Pro Circuit season strong and actually plans on jumping in some FLW Series events for the first time since 2015.

“When you fish the full Tour at 68 years old, that’s a chore, and to try and fish any more tournaments wears you down. It takes all winter to get the fire lit again,” says Nixon. “But missing some tournaments early is going to have me ready to go. I’m hoping to fish again by Hartwell. I may choose and pick some FLW Series events and go to them, and I’d love to do the Northern Division swing. It’ll be nice to just fish and not worry about making a championship and just have fun. There’s no loss of desire to fish. I still love to travel, compete and fish. I don’t have as much vigor in my body, but I can still compete.”

No doubt, Nixon has the gusto to keep fishing. But why still put his body through the rigors of competing at a high level? Why not relax on the couch and fish for fun?

The answer is simple: “I guess the biggest thing is I just love it. It’s not the competition. I just love fishing different lakes, and I’ve done it so long I just can’t quit. My only goal is to continue to fish and have fun. I’ve had goals my whole life and accomplished most of them, but now I want to continue to fish and have fun. That’s what life’s all about. And to me, that’s going fishing.”

Tags: larry-nixon  -fishing  kyle-wood  article 

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