What a week!
It’s interesting when I look back on it. I had a pretty good lead the first day or two. A lot of people told me I was way out in front, so far that I was going to win. I wasn’t so sure. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a four-day fishing tournament and only one or two that can go right.
Being out front like that puts a lot of pressure on you. Fortunately I’m a guy who’s pretty laid back. I don’t get tense and I don’t panic, usually not anyway, so I made the decision that I’d just go with what was happening and hope that my fish held up long enough for me to win.
That’s really all you can do when things are the way they were at the Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville. There’s no point in doing something different. It doesn’t make sense to make a run to a new spot or totally change your game plan. You go with what has been working for you and hope for the best.
Besides, you never know what else is going to happen. Every angler fishing on Sunday is a top professional. We all know how to catch bass — even though sometimes we don’t — so it’s always possible that someone will catch a giant bag and take over. That’s especially true on a big-bass fishery like Guntersville.
I’ve had some good events, and I’ve had some tough events. Based on the good ones I felt I was competitive and would win one along the way. I just didn’t think it would be this soon. The winnings from this will make a big difference.
The fishing industry has been a part of my life for at least 20 years. I’ve worked in tackle shops, big fishing retail stores and worked as a guide. I’ve always wanted to fish with the best anglers around. This will help me reach my goal of having a long and consistent career in the Bassmaster Elite Series.
This is an expensive sport. I don’t have a trust fund, a wife with a good income or a business so my income is all from fishing. Actually, I don’t have a wife at all. I’m single.
When you’re just starting out, financing a professional bass fishing career isn’t the easiest thing. I’ve been able to do it but only by spending wisely and controlling expenses with things like putting a camper on the back of my truck and sleeping in it during tournaments.
And, I’ve been blessed with several good sponsors. One that I want to mention in particular is Piscifun. They make high-quality, affordable fishing products but that’s not what I want to talk about right now. I want to talk about their class.
They have been unbelievably loyal and steadfast in supporting my career for a number of years now. It’s no exaggeration to say that I might not have been able to do this without them. I can’t say enough good about them. They are owned and managed by real people.
I don’t want too much of this column to be about money, but it’s a fact of life, the fishing life for sure. This win will help me financially as I go forward with my career. That’s no small thing. I want to fish with B.A.S.S. for many years into the future.
The last thing is that I want to thank everyone who has been supportive at this tournament and over the years. It means more to me than you might think.