Steve Morris Found Himself Back in the Derby Winner's Circle (Part 2)

By Nelson Sigelman

Are you nervous?
Not really. It would be a big thrill, and it would be great if it happens, but if not I had a lot of fun, and I'll look forward to trying again next year."

What did you get for a grand prize in 1983?
I got $300, a sports coat from Brickman's, and a rod and reel.

What are some of the changes between then and now?
Between the merchandise and the prizes, in that sense it is night and day. Now you get the print and the rain gear and a shot at the boat and all the lures and stuff that comes. It's much, much bigger than it was.

Do you think most of the Derby entrants are fishing for the prizes or the fun?
A good majority of the people are fishing for the fun. Unfortunately, there is a handful of people fishing out there for the prizes.

Why do you say unfortunately?
For me, it just kind of ruins it when people are worried about what they are going to win or not going to win, how big a reel or the quality or the line or the lure or whatever you get. I don't know, the Derby is much more than that.

Do you think they are missing the point of the Derby?
No question, they just don't get it.

Tell me about your fish. Did you know it would take over first?
I did. I got home and showed my wife and the kids, and they wanted me to weigh it. I said, no, I don't want to weigh it, and they said come on, you've got to weigh it. So I weighed it and it was neat knowing I was going to go down and take over the lead.

With five days left do you think that fish will hold?
It probably shouldn't, but it's hard to say. There have got to be some bigger fish out there, but there have only been three other fish bigger than that, all the boat fish. We've fished four and a half weeks, so there's a possibility it could hold.

And if it does?
If it does, that's great.

If it doesn't?
No big deal, I'll just try it again next year. That's the joy of the Derby, you know, it's going to happen every year. It's just about guaranteed."