Editor's note: This year, the Johnston brothers will share a monthly column where both will offer insight and information on a variety of topics.
Current Bassmaster Angler of the Year Standings
With one tournament left to go in the season, how do you feel about your overall performance in 2020?
Chris: I’m not really satisfied. I won the tournament at the St. Lawrence River in July. That saved my season, but overall it’s been a roller coaster. The year started off pretty rough with a 71st-place finish at the St. Johns River and then 59th at Eufaula, so I dug a pretty big hole, and my finishes have been all over the place since then. There were several times that I just didn’t get on anything great in practice. Other times, I had a good practice, made it into the cut, and then I didn’t do well on Day 3.
Cory: I think that for the most part it has been pretty successful. I’m in the top 10 for Angler of the Year, and I had a pretty good shot at it until Chickamauga. I dropped the ball there, but before that things had been pretty good after a tough start. I had three Top 10s in a row on the Northern Swing, and then had a good tournament at Guntersville and an excellent one at Santee.
Do you like fall tournaments or would you rather be doing something else?
Chris: To be honest, I’d rather be hunting. While we’re at Fork it’ll be the first week of gun season at home. With today’s modern technology it’s tougher than ever. I run eight or 10 trail cameras, and I can see those big bucks chasing – but I’m 21 hours away.
Cory: Like Chris said, the cameras are lighting up. We’ll miss that first week of gun season. Sure, we’ll get the second week, and the muzzleloader season, and then we can bow hunt until the end of December, but one of my favorite days of the year is getting together with my buddies on the first day of the season. I won’t get that this year.
Given your current status in the AOY race and with respect to the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, how will you approach Lake Fork?
Chris: I’m inside the Classic cut now, so my goal is to finish at least in the top 40. That’ll keep me in the Classic and earn a check. I won’t really approach this tournament any differently than I would any other. I finished 40th there last year, but that was in the spring. This time we’ll probably have to catch them a different way, and I’ll be sure to try a little bit of everything. I’d like to get 13 or 14 pounds before I gamble a little to try for some bigger fish.
Cory: I’m already in the Classic, and I have an outside shot at Angler of the Year, so just catching a limit and getting a check doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I need five big fish a day, so I’ll probably end up either doing really well or really bad. I feel like the offshore game will be in play, but there should be a lot of the bigger fish up shallow. Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they’ll be easy to catch.
Have you been to Ray Roberts yet, or thought about how you’ll approach it in March?
Chris: I haven’t even thought about it. Right now, Lake Fork and deer are the only two things on my mind. I always look forward to Texas, but when this tournament is over I want to get back as quick as I can. The goal is to finish up this year and start fresh next year.
Cory: I haven’t been there yet, but I plan to go for a day after Fork. I’ll drive around and take a look. It’s an important tournament, but I won’t prepare for it differently than any other tournament – you have to go there, figure them out and catch them.