Tournament fishing always seems to come down to the final tournament, the final day or the final fish. For me it really comes down to this final tournament to make the Bassmaster Classic. If I have a good event, I'm in; if I bomb. I'm out. For the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, Edwin Evers has had a great season, but if he doesn't finish with a good event, Aaron Martens or Kevin VanDam might catch him.
During tournaments it always comes down to having a good final day, where the angler that has the best final day wins.
Other sports might be over by halftime, or teams could clinch a playoff berth 3/4 of the way through a season. I'm not sure what makes fishing different. Is it the equality of the anglers or the nature of your opponent being a creature that we won't ever fully understand? I'm not sure, but it seems like nobody ever runs away with anything or seals a trip to the Classic until the very last possible moment.
Last year for the AOY title it came down to the final day on the water and nearly the final angler to weigh in before the crown was mine. When Ott DeFoe made the Top 12 along with me, I knew the job was not done and I had to catch them again on the final day at the final event of the season. Luckily that worked out, but this sport is really a game of ounces, and one bad day, one poor execution of landing a fish can change the course of the year.
This week at Detroit there are about 30 anglers, maybe more, vying for the final 10 to 15 spots in the 2014 Classic. That's a lot of pressure. Many of us base the success of our season on whether we make the Classic or not. It's the "Super Bowl" of bass fishing and you can't win it if you're not in it. Every cast this week is going to count for each of us. Decisions are going to be more difficult to make and executing every fish catch to a successful landing is crucial.
Think it's all fun and games out there on the water? It's not, but I love the pressure and love the challenge of knowing I need to fish my best to have a shot at the biggest title in the sport.
We'll see what happens this week at St. Clair as the regular season comes to a close. Some anglers are going to get in and some are going to barely miss out. The difference could be one lost fish, one bad decision or being one minute late to a key spot. It'll be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Be sure to follow the action right here on Bassmaster.com and see it all come down to the wire once again.