Now is when I plan out my fishing schedule for the following year. I always get a calendar and write in the dates for the most important tournaments and work down to the smaller tournaments as the weekends fill up.
During college, I focused my tournament fishing on college fishing and BFLs, and all my other tournaments had to fit in around those tournament dates. I always looked over the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation tournaments for some reason, when I actually should have made them the priority.
I finally realized this my junior year of college when I signed up and fished my first Kentucky Federation Nation state qualifier. After that first tournament, I knew that I should have started fishing the Fed Nation years earlier.
I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier, because there is no other weekend tournament trail that has the opportunity that the Fed Nation has. Six anglers every year qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. That is pretty crazy if you think about it.
Fishing the Kentucky Federation Nation helped me grow as an angler and opened up many doors. Kentucky has some great fisherman, and unlike all the other tournaments that I had fished in the past, everybody shared info and tried to help each other. The camaraderie in the Federation Nation was awesome, and we all worked together to get better as anglers.
The three years that I fished the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation was influential in achieving my goal of fishing on the Bassmaster Elite Series. The same could be said about many guys that are fishing the Elite Series: Mike Iaconelli, the Lane brothers, Brandon Palaniuk, and Bradley Roy, just to name a few.
In fact, Roy and I competed against each other for two years in the Kentucky Federation Nation. It is pretty cool that we both worked our way up and are now competing against each other in the big leagues.
If you are a tournament fisherman, I would like to encourage you to join the Federation Nation. Make it a priority because those other weekend tournament circuits don’t even compare. I promise you won’t regret it. You will have fun, get better as a fisherman, and who knows, you may be fishing the Bassmaster Classic some day.
Remember to chase your dreams!