Classic always on my mind

About the author

Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw of Hemphill, Texas, teamed with Ryan Watkins to win the 2011 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship for Stephen F. Austin, then edged Watkins for the first Bassmaster Classic berth from the collegiate series.

Since July 10, I’ve had one thing on my mind: the Bassmaster Classic.

While it is still six months away, the magnitude of this honor is something I go to bed with at night and wake up with every morning. I have earned the privilege of fishing against the “big boys,” the best in the world, and, not to mention, many of my heroes.

Even in a time of such honor for me, I am also very humbled by the entire situation. The past month or so, I feel as if I have been floating on a cloud and watching from above.

I had such huge aspirations as a kid and I have been extremely fortunate enough to see a lot of them become a reality.

 For example, I get to write a blog for, which gives me the opportunity to connect with fans, assist my sponsors, and, most of all, write what I feel. I get to express opinions, and in some cases, create a following.

Bassmaster, however, isn’t where I began writing. I wrote an article for Bass East and also write a monthly article for The Lakecaster, a newspaper in East Texas.

Growing up, I have always been extremely competitive by nature, no matter what it was. I always wanted to win, and to this day nothing has changed. I know as a youngster I would do just about anything to win.

Playing my mom in Monopoly, for example, I would always have a little extra money stashed under the table. I can clearly remember the first bass tournament I ever won -- a Media Bass tournament Individual Series. I was in second until the very end of the tournament; in an unexpected turn of events, the leader got disqualified, marking my first win.

As most fishermen are, I was ecstatic about the win. Funny how things change over time… to this day I despise that win more than anything.

I want to win because I was the best fisherman on the water for that day, or, in talking about the Classic, for three days.

I want to win the Bassmaster Classic. I know I’m a long shot, but I also know my entire life I have been a long shot. Not just fishing-wise, but in life. I was told that I couldn’t play football because I was too small. As a freshman in high school, I rounded out at about 5 foot 3, 120 pounds soaking wet. I still played and I still got hit really hard.

Many people didn’t know, but I fought through a lot of injuries growing up through high school, as I had to push a little bit harder than everyone else.

It was also my freshman year that I tore both quadriceps muscles in about a two-week span, forming calcium deposits in both legs. Did I let that stop me? Absolutely not. I went on to play college football, playing only four months after ACL and meniscus surgery on my right knee. This still didn’t keep me down.

 I love when things seem impossible to people, and I strive off of that doubt. That’s how I am built, and that’s how I am made. That doubt is one of many reasons I made the Bassmaster Classic.

For now I have one shot. I have one chance, which may be the last I ever have. I don’t have the Elites next year, but I do have the Classic. No one remembers second (unless you’re Aaron Martens, which in his case is a truly remarkable feat).

I’ve got one chance to prove to the world that a college fisherman deserves to be in the Classic. Could you imagine a college fisherman winning the Bassmaster Classic the inaugural year they are brought in to fish it? I can.