Bill Dance stood in a sea of well-wishers at one of last week’s weigh-ins for the eighth annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout – his celebrity punctuated by his signature white hat with the orange “T” of his home state of Tennessee.
Johnny Morris stood on the outside, unassumingly shaking a few hands and talking to anglers as his buddy posed for pictures and signed autographs.
Morris is no less famous than his friend. He’s certainly richer. He’s just not a TV fishing show host.
But figuring out who Morris is should have been a little easier for those mingling around the weigh-in scales.
Dressed head to toe in Red Head brand apparel – camo jacket, plaid shirt, jeans and Bill Dance boat shoes – Morris’ graying hair was topped with a red Bass Pro Shops hat.
A walking billboard for the chain of mega outdoors stores, Morris is Bass Pro Shops.
But Morris doesn’t mind being in the shadows when he’s with friends such as Dance. His laid-back attitude is a reflection of a humble, down-to-earth persona despite being the owner of one of the biggest networks of outdoor gear stores in the world.
Morris and Dance played around on the Waterman like a couple of school children, joking in front of two video cameras taping for a future Dance show.
With a lull in the action, Morris saw one of the fishing rods jumping up and down. He dashed to the stern, nearly knocking Dance to the deck.