Bass Man

| July 05, 2005

While tournament bass are driver David Goldsberry’s favorite target, he’ll happily fish for a mess of smaller fish. These bream, from the pond next to his home, are destined for the pan.

You don’t go out on Kentucky Lake if the weather forecast is for storms. But the weather around the lake can change quickly, and then things can get hairy.

When Paschall Truck Lines driver David Goldsberry is not on the road, odds are he’s on Kentucky Lake, and more than once he has wondered if he’d get off the lake alive.

“The wind can suddenly come up and surprise you. There were times out there I didn’t think I’d make it back; I was just like a little bitty bobber out there on the ocean in a storm,” he says. “I know the lake well enough, and I always check the weather forecast on television, and I watch all the time I’m out there. I know how it can change in the blink of an eye.

“Even so, a couple of times I was lucky to make it home.”

Kentucky Lake, partly in northwestern Tennessee and partly in southwestern Kentucky, is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes with 2,380 miles of shoreline and 160,000 acres of water. It can seem like an angry ocean when you are caught on it in a small boat when storms suddenly roar down.

But storms won’t stop Goldsberry, 44, from going out on Kentucky Lake.

“I’ve been living in the outdoors ever since I was a kid,” he says. “My dad took me hunting deer when I was real small. I carried a double-barreled cork gun. When I was maybe nine or 10, we went and I could shoot.” That was back in Illinois, little less than 100 miles west of Chicago, where he was raised.

“As I grew up we’d go up to Minnesota on vacation and go fishing. I loved it from the first time I went out there. It’s something I always wanted to do after that,” says Goldsberry, who drives the lower 48 with a Freightliner Century and a dry van, making most of his runs in the Midwest.

Today Goldsberry lives in Paris, Tenn., near his favorite lake. But “home” is really out in the woods or on the water. “I live outdoors nearly all the time I’m not on the road. I drive through the week, but I’m back on weekends, so the job really fits my needs, and I’ll be hunting in deer season or I’ll be going after bass. I’m out there as much as it’s possible to get out there. I have a life besides being a driver, so what I’ve got with PTL works out real good.

“I’ll get back, take the boat out to the lake, find my place, throw up the tent and be there for two or three days, whatever I can get.”

Goldsberry was a carpenter for most of his working life, but an accident led him into trucking five years ago. A fall from a balcony injured his feet, and he needed a job where he would not have to stand and work. “I had to get off my feet. I could have gone on welfare I guess, but that’s not me,” he says. “Trucking seemed to be a way to earn my living and have the freedom to do it my way for the most part.”

Goldsberry and his father Wayne, a retired machinist, still hunt and fish together, enjoying that father-son camaraderie that flourishes in the wild. There’s also a bit of competitiveness in that camaraderie.

They are both in a local bass club that meets in a little country store, and they fish in club tournaments against friends and each other.

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