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 Bassmaster.com, 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.