Well, the regular season has come to an end and what a season it was. We had a fantastic year on the Elite Series with a great schedule of lakes.
It all came to a stressful end on Lake St. Clair for those of us who battled for Toyota Angler of Year and Rookie of Year titles, Classic berths and, of course, a chance to get into the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week Sept. 27-29.
My hat’s off to Aaron Martens for winning Angler of Year and Hank Cherry for being the Rookie of the Year. They had great seasons while fishing against the toughest anglers in the country.
I’m thrilled to get into the All-Star event on the points side. Only eight Elite pros can qualify automatically. Others who made it with me include Martens, Edwin Evers, Bobby Lane, Keith Combs, Alton Jones, John Crews and Chris Zaldain. The 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace and 2013 Rookie of Year Cherry also make it automatically.
But there are still four spots left and that’s where the fans can help by voting for their favorite pros.
You can go to Bassmaster.com/vote and vote for the four anglers you’d like to see in the field. Voting remains open until Sept. 6 and you can vote daily. Each person who casts a vote is entered in a sweepstakes. Fourteen names will be drawn to be paired with one of the All-Star competitors and the fan who is paired with the winner of the event takes home a 2014 Toyota Truck!
Muskegon will provide an excellent venue, as will nearby White Lake, the latter of which will host the finals.
The fishing should be very good and provide fans with an interesting format. I grew up fishing Muskegon and I can assure you it is a very unique fishery with a lot of different types of structure and cover and offers both largemouth and smallmouth bass. It’s the kind of place that allows competitors to fish their strengths, regardless of their preferred technique. They can flip, frog, drop shot, crank, fish shallow, deep or anything in between.
I’m proud of my home state waters. There are other lakes that offer bigger smallmouth and largemouth, but Muskegon has held its own as one of the top destinations in the state. While St. Clair gets a lot of tournament pressure on the east side of the state, Muskegon is the No. 1 tournament destination on the west side.
It will be interesting to see the different ways these guys attack the lake, and I think will provide an exciting television show when it airs on ESPN2.
Don’t be surprised if the pros wind up battling other species as well. Salmon run from Lake Michigan through Muskegon and into adjoining rivers to spawn during the fall, and some of that has already begun. I know of at least one 26-pound king salmon that was caught in Muskegon last week!
The lake also is a good walleye fishery and loaded with northern pike and muskie. My advice to fellow competitors is to be prepared to be bit off by toothy critters, so bring lots of their favorite baits!
In addition to the fishing, there will be a lot of activities at the weigh-ins at Heritage Landing, including concerts, interactive displays and an outdoor show.
I encourage everyone within driving distance to come out for the weigh-ins. Activities begin at Heritage at noon and run until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!