In December of 2018, B.A.S.S. invited all the new Elites to Birmingham for a preseason meeting. It was the start of a whole new Elite Series, and there were a ton of new faces. I remember very clearly the day before the meeting hearing a hubbub in our normally quiet offices. Frank Talley and his wife were here for a tour. They met literally everyone who works at B.A.S.S. and asked what they do, and showed genuine interest in how we work. It was kind of wonderful. He was so happy to be a part of the Elite Series, and it showed.
Frank qualified for the Elite Series via the Opens, and there was never any doubt of how good he is. But that day I remember wondering if such a nice guy can compete on the highest level. There's Opens good, which is quite good. But there's also Elite good. Which is a whole different level.
As it turns out, the answer is yes. But it took a year to get there. For Frank's first year, he finished 69th in Bassmaster Angler of the Year. But last year? Fifteenth.
Last year on Guntersville, Frank became an Elite Series champion. And so I find him on Media Day at the Bassmaster Classic sitting in his boat not wide-eyed and just happy to be here. Today I meet a different Frank the Tank than the one who strolled through my office over two years ago. He's a true competitor now; he has a quiet confidence that was missing the first time I met him. He's not having a great 2021, to be honest. But he's tasted victory, and I can tell it's changed his perspective.
Much like the whole time I've known him, you may think Frank is just a good guy in the sport and not a threat.
I can assure you, Frank is a threat. But don't worry, he will be very kind when he beats you.
He didn't tell me that he's going to win, but hearing him talk about practice, I could tell that this event is right in his wheelhouse. I would not be shocked if he's in the mix on Sunday. Defying expectations has led him here.