It doesn’t take long to shift focus from one year to the next in the world of professional bass fishing. Our season just ended and most of us are already chomping at the bit to get next year started. It took me several weeks to get over the fact that I barely missed out on qualifying for next year’s Classic. I’m probably the only Elite Series angler that had three Top 10s and still missed the Classic. I had many highs and lows this past year, and this inconsistency has fueled my fire for next year.
I really like the looks of the 2014 schedule. Like most other anglers on tour, my goals for next year are to be consistent and to qualify for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. Another goal for next year is to get my first big win. Looking at next year’s schedule, there are several tournaments that I feel I have a good chance to win.
St. Johns River
I love fishing in Florida, and the St. Johns River is neat because any flip can be a 10-pounder. I bet that place produces more bass over 10 pounds than anywhere else in Florida. Sight fishing is one of my favorite techniques, and there’s about a 90 percent chance that it will be the winning strategy. I will be push poling my Triton around in those grassbeds for most of the practice. I finished 22nd last time we were there, and I only made a few casts in practice. I saw some real giants there last time but had some issues with fishing pressure. I will be looking in more obscure areas next time.
Table Rock Lake
I have fished Table Rock Lake several times, and it reminds me of my home lake, Norris Lake. Both lakes are deep, clear reservoirs that have a good population of all three species of bass. We will be there in early April, so I think the tournament will be won on a prespawn pattern. If there is rain before the event, the creeks will stain up a bit. In the clear water lakes, fish gravitate toward muddier water. I have seen it many times on Norris Lake, where bass move toward the stained water in the spring and get shallow. If this happens, a jig and a crankbait will be hard to beat. If it doesn’t rain and the water stays clear, a jerkbait and a shaky head will be a better choice. I’m hoping for the rain, though, because I love fishing the stained water.
I love fishing in my home state because all my friends and family will be there. I live about two hours from Chick so I plan on spending lots of time down there from now until the tournament. BASSfest will be in June, and there’s a very good chance that the tournament will be won deep on ledges. Over the past several years, I have spent countless days learning how to read my electronics and figuring out how to catch deep bass. I am very confident fishing deep, and I have the patience to idle around all day looking at my electronics to find the big schools that it takes to win on. I’m really looking forward to this tournament because of BASSfest. It’s gonna be big!
Dare to fail.