Another Bassmaster Classic.
Another morning of anticipation, butterflies and an adrenaline rush like no other I experience in my career.
Sure, it’s another bass tournament. I’ve fished hundreds in my life; this is my 22nd Bassmaster Classic, so it’s not like the first time.
But it still feels like the first.
People say, “What drives you, KVD?”
Well, this does. This is what it’s all about. And it doesn’t matter if it’s my first or 50th Classic, whether I’ve never won or have won four. The thrill never diminishes.
The preparation is done. The media interviews, the sponsor obligations that pile on during the pre-tournament activities are behind us. It’s time to get down to business.
Let the competition begin.
It hit me just before 7 a.m. this morning. As we stood in our boats and that national anthem was played, my heart skipped a couple of beats. It always does, because I know, this is “it.”
I wish I could tell you what to expect from me. I can tell you practice was tough, but things began to come together in our short day Wednesday.
I covered a lot of water and looked at a lot of areas. I really didn’t fish very thorough, but I got a few bites. I liked what I saw and the pieces began to fall into place. I found some places in which I have a lot of confidence.
But there is a caveat. A big one.
The best areas are very far apart and I’ve got to make long runs to each one.
It’s the same predicament I found myself in the last time we fished a Classic here on the Red River in 2009.
When the national anthem is played, I have to make a Classic-defining decision. Which place do I go to first?
Like I said, déjà vu.
In 2009, I guessed wrong. It cost me the Classic. Like we say every year, you can’t win the Classic the first day, but you sure as heck can lose it.
I have a chance to make history by becoming the first to win three in a row. If I make the wrong decision tomorrow morning, it probably won’t happen. There’s no guarantee I can win if I make the right one, but I sure can lose if I make the wrong one.
That’s why I love this event. There is so much at stake and it’s all about making the right decisions.
So, this morning I assessed the weather and the water conditions. I won’t delve into the particulars of what role that will play in where I start, but I know conditions are changing. It’s been very warm and stable the past couple of days, but the cold front could change that. When you practice for a Classic, you have to think a few days ahead and rely on instincts.
But there are variables you can’t control. What if other anglers found the same stuff? How will spectator boats and local anglers affect the area I’m fishing? You try not to let those variables affect your thought process, but it does.
Yet, I can assure you my instincts will tell me what to do when I push my Mercury throttle at 7 a.m. I will have to trust them to have a chance of winning.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!