50th Classic: Mosley conditioned to win

Brock Mosley isn’t sure if the first Bassmaster Classic he attended was in 1996 when George Cochran won on Alabama’s Lay Lake, or if it was in 1997 when Dion Hibdon took honors on Lake Logan Martin, also in Alabama.

Mosley is 100% certain, however, that he plans to make the most of the first Classic he’ll attend as a competitor. His time is coming in March when he’ll be one of 53 anglers to cross rods in the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing.”

The 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk is scheduled for March 6-8 on Lake Guntersville, also in Alabama. Weigh-ins will take place at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in downtown Birmingham.

Throw in tens of thousands of fans, a few hundred media personnel, bright lights and sleepless nights – none of the pending hoopla is lost on the 31-year-old pro from Collinsville, Miss.

Mosley, after all, had an up-close view of bass fishing’s stars back in the 1990s when he was in grade school. His dad, Danny, owned a Ranger boat dealership at the time, so dad’s work at the Classic doubled as an introduction to the sport for young Brock.

Impacted

Seeing his heroes in the flesh left a profound impact, even if the tournament details are a bit fuzzy a couple decades later.

“I only got to go to the Day 3 expo and weigh-in,” Mosley said. “Back then, fishing was all about the Saturday morning shows … I was starstruck as a little boy. I thought it was the coolest thing, that the guys I watched on TV could do this as job. They could make a living out of it, and that stuck with me.”

As owner of a bass boat dealership, the elder Mosley hosted quite a few local tournaments on Okatibbee Lake, which is located just outside of Collinsville near Meridian. Young Brock would hang out at those events too, watching anglers launch their boats and listening in when they talked on the docks after a day of tournament fishing.

It all was fuel for the competitive fire that began burning inside Brock Mosley. And like it does for so many youngsters, it all built a desire to go back to the Bassmaster Classic, but not as a spectator.

“I had no idea there was a show of this magnitude that was part of bass fishing,” Mosley said. “The arena in Birmingham is big, but it’s seemed so much bigger as a kid. We were sitting up in the nosebleeds, and it seemed like the whole world was there.”

Mosley began fishing in tournaments regularly with his father and his love for bass fishing blossomed, even though baseball and football grabbed much of his attention when he was a standout athlete at West Lauderdale High School in Colllinsville. He played baseball at East Mississippi Community College for two seasons before signing to play with Delta State University. He soon transferred to Ole Miss, however, where he joined the university’s bass fishing team.

Mosley honed more than his fishing skills at Ole Miss. He also earned a marketing degree, which has aided him through his progression from college tournaments, to FLW events and Bassmaster Opens. He finished sixth in the Southern Opens points standings in 2015 and qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2016.

Mosley finished 50th in the Angler of the Year points race in 2016 and had two second-place tournament finishes in the 2017 Elite Series (on Lake St. Clair in Michigan and on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York.) He dropped to 73rd in AOY standings in 2018, but rebounded nicely in 2019, when he placed 36th in AOY points and qualified for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic. The top 42 Elite Series anglers made the cut.

Mosley characterized his 2019 season as “average,” but he wasn’t displeased, mainly because consistency led to a Classic berth. He said he only had one really “bad” tournament — at Lake Fork, where he placed 72nd of 75 anglers — but he bounced back with a 19th-place showing at Guntersville in the next Elite tournament. He had two other Top 20 finishes in 2019, at Winyah Bay in South Carolina and at Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma.