December 13, 2019 by Kyle Wood
At 69 years old, Larry Nixon still has the passion and momentum for bass fishing he had when he started competing in major tournaments about 40 years ago. That is probably why he will again compete in his 23rd year of professional fishing with FLW when the FLW Pro Circuit begins in 2020.
Except 2020 will be different for the general. He will miss the first game of the season at Sam Rayburn and stop at number 2 on the Harris chain. In fact, you may not be able to launch a boat for the 2020 Pro Circuit until stop number 4 or 5 in April. The delay is to allow Nixon to recover from a shoulder surgery scheduled for later this month. You will be allowed to join the professional circuit late through a medical exemption.
Nixon has never been someone who allows a medical speed bump to slow him down. He underwent a quadruple bypass, valve replacement and repair of a heart murmur after the FLW Cup in 2016, and even that could not prevent him from going back stronger in 2017, when he registered an end in 19th place on the FLW Tour. So, although shoulder surgery is not the way the veteran wants to start his season, don't expect it to be less than competitive when he returns.
Enough is enough
Shoulder problems are not a new phenomenon for Quitman, Arkansas, pro. He has suffered pain in his right shoulder from arthritis and wear for more than a decade. This season, he finally reached a point where he decided to try a permanent solution.
"My shoulder began to wear out about 12 years ago, and it reached the point where I couldn't do anything," says Nixon. “Then, I went to my doctor, and he gave me an injection to help him, and it lasted six months. Then he would receive another injection, and when the pain returned, he would receive another injection. Then, the doctor warned me that I was on my last vaccine and that, if it didn't work, we would have to do something to fix it. Well, that injection lasted five years, and then, about four or five years ago, the pain began to come back. I've been fishing on shots for the past 10 years. "
The injections are a combination of cortisone and lidocaine, which were effective for a while, but before competing in the FLW Cup last August, Nixon discovered how bad things were.
“I had an MRI before the Cup, and my doctor told me that [my shoulder] was pretty bad. There is no cartilage left. I was shot before fishing the Cup, and it only lasted 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 wear a shirt, jacket or raincoat without crying, it's time to do something. "
Nixon is still waiting to know when it will be operated. Clinton Hospital, which is close to home, said December 17 and 23 are possible dates for surgery. However, he worries that he may arrive in early January.
"Surgery is going to be a total replacement," he adds. "There's nothing left to get in and repair. It's similar to what Denny Brauer did. I talked a lot with Denny about that and where he did it, but I wanted to make it closer to my house because you have to go to checkups a lot. But Denny is excellent now It's a big problem, but it's not a big problem today, hopefully it's a good solution.
"It will be at least a three-month layoff after surgery, sometimes even more. They won't let you drive for a couple of weeks, and after a month and a half or so you can do many things, but nothing physical. That's why I hope to return to Hartwell and Dardanelle [at the end of April and beginning of May, respectively]. "
While the idea of missing out on some tournaments devours him, Nixon might be more upset about having to miss one of his other favorite things in the world: duck hunting.
"It's quite disappointing to know that I'm going to miss the whole month of January because that's when I love chasing ducks." I will also miss going to Harris. That is one of my favorite holes. Of course, Rayburn is the same way. If we were going to another place during that time, it wouldn't bother me, but since they are some of my favorite lakes, it's a pain. But I have to do it. There is no other way around it. "
Fishing for fun
Nixon expects to end the Pro Circuit season strongly and really plans to jump into some FLW Series events for the first time since 2015.
"When you catch the full Tour at age 68, it's a difficult task, and trying to catch more tournaments wears you out. It takes all winter to turn the fire back on," says Nixon. "But losing some tournaments early is going to have ready to go. I hope to go fishing again in Hartwell. I can choose and choose some FLW Series events and go to them, and I would love to do the North Division swing. It will be good to fish and not worry about doing a championship and just have fun. There is no loss of desire to fish. I still love to travel, compete and fish. I don't have so much vigor in my body, but I can still compete. "
Undoubtedly, Nixon is pleased to continue fishing. But why does he still subject his body to the rigors of competing at a high level? Why not relax on the couch and fish for fun?
The answer is simple: "I think the most important thing is that I love it. It's not the competition. I love fishing different lakes, and I've done it so long that I can't quit smoking. My only goal is to keep fishing and having fun. I've I had goals all my life and I have achieved most of them, but now I want to keep fishing and have fun. That's what life is all about. And for me, that's going fishing. "
Tags: larry-nixon -fishing article by kyle-wood