2013 Bassmaster Classic Wild Card presented by Star Tron
Lake Okeechobee - Okeechobee, FL, Dec 5 - 7, 2013

Catch the wave: J Todd and the Wild Card

And that is precisely why I have agonized over writing this column.  Legally, I don’t have to, my contract calls for 60 columns a year…this will be column 61.

I agonize because many of my friends, the Elite anglers, sit squarely on the other side of the fence from me on this issue, this Wild Card thing.

In 30 years of covering gifted athletes, professional athletes, I have never covered, or liked, the athletes as much as I do the guys I cover now, and we have formed a kinship of the road, and the struggles of the road together.

You need to know that I have never interviewed a professional athlete, until this job, that wasn’t a multi-millionaire.  I have interviewed 20-year-old kids with a 10-million dollar signing bonus in the bank.

Having millions of bucks as an athlete is a game changer.

Having only thousands of bucks as an athlete is also a game changer.

Here’s the background of where I come from, the AVERAGE salary of QB’s in the NFL (average between starters and those holding the clip board) is $1,970,982 or for a 16 game season (they are paid once a week during the season) $123,186 a week.

So let's just make this easy and say every Monday game check is for $125-grand.

Win or lose.

Now comes the playoffs, very first round, the wild card, most players will get some sort of cash bonus for making the playoffs, but like the regular season they also get a game check.

In the Wild Card round, the winners get a game check of $21,000.

Losers, $19,000.

But here, I’m comparing apples to polar bears it is so far off.  Here, our players, pay to play, and the payout is very important, no matter what the tournament.

Many Elite anglers have a problem with the payout for this Wild Card event, and I’m not taking any stand on that, either way.

What I am taking a stand on is quite simply this; when it comes to an opportunity to get to play on the biggest field of your sport,

you catch the wave.

No matter what the wave looks like, no matter how the wave is changed, no matter who sends the wave,

you catch the wave.

Debate the merits of the wave all you want, but be on the wave.

“As soon as I heard about this tournament, I signed up. Frankly db, I don’t even know what the payout is; I’m not going down there to come in 2nd place, I’m going to fish the Wild Card to be in and win the Bassmaster Classic.”

The Tucker Family- J Todd, Emily, Landon, Chase, and Landon. Emily TuckerThe Tucker Family- J Todd, Emily, Landon, Chase, and Landon.
Said at Mile Marker 339.

By Elite Angler J Todd Tucker.

Stuck in traffic on his way to the Bassmaster Classic Wild Card event.

“…I’m throwing smarts to the wind just to see what the wind brings…”

Again, this is very hard for me because I know of the many struggles our guys have financially to stay and compete in this sport, but if you throw a Wild Card wave at me, I’m going to catch it.

What do we say to each other, what do you say to yourself if the person standing lifting the 2014 Bassmaster Classic trophy over his head in Birmingham in February is the dude who caught the wave back in December at this Wild Card thing.