2013 Elite Series: Looking ahead

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Bernie Schultz

Bernie Schultz

Bernie Schultz is an Elite Series pro and eight-time Classic qualifier. Connect with Bernie on Facebook and his website

Looking ahead to next season's Bassmaster Elite Series, it's hard to imagine a more challenging schedule. With so much distance between each venue and fisheries so diverse, it's certain to take a toll on many of the competitors.

I know I have some concerns.

The logistics of getting from one event to another, both economically and in a timely fashion won’t be easy. For example, the first two events in Texas are back-to-back with no days off between them. Normally this is desirable when we're a long way from home and the events are near each other. But in this rare instance, the two venues are more than nine hours apart! And with the exception of one Elite competitor who lives in South Texas, we'll all be driving further from home to get to the second location.

Believe me, the less distance you have to drive after an event, the better. And that goes double in this instance.

Next comes Arkansas. After the Texas stint, most of us will have returned home for the break, so heading to Arkansas will mean a lot of backtracking. Those anglers off to a solid start in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings will look forward to the drive. Those who are struggling will be counting the miles.

The middle of the season puts us in Alabama and Georgia, then the tour moves north to Wisconsin, New York and Michigan. For a Florida boy, that's a lot of travel. But then I won’t be getting any sympathy from guys like Skeet Reese, John Murray or Brandon Palaniuk. They travel cross country for nearly every event.

Like it is in other aspects of our profession, much of it comes down to time management. And after so many years of doing this, you would think it gets easier. But it doesn't. Not only will we be juggling tournaments and appearances, but those of us with families will be trying to find ways to maximize our time at home.

And then there's the cost of fuel to consider. Man! With gas prices already reaching $5 per gallon on the West Coast, I hate to think what we're in for come 2013.

With all of this in mind, here's a quick breakdown of the schedule and what's in store.