As time goes along, this Bassmaster Classic win seems more and more extraordinary. This one is the real deal. They're all special, of course, but this one really means a lot to me.
I had a tough Classic last year. With the benefit of hindsight I made a bad decision about where to fish on the first day. Along with that, I don't feel that I fished the way I should have on Lay Lake in 2007.
2010 really makes me feel good. In some ways it was a tough Classic. As you know from reading my daily postings, I missed some of what was going to happen — first thinking that one big day would win it and then believing there'd be three big days. Nevertheless, it all worked out in the long run.
Along with those positive thoughts, however, I have some concerns. There are people — well-financed, dedicated and hard-working — whose goal it is to ban recreational sportfishing. They approach it in a variety of ways, but, if they succeed, the result will be that you'll not be able to take your son or daughter fishing on Saturdays.
This isn't about BASS, FLW or any other tournament organization. It's about recreational sportfishing in general, the core of what we, as Americans, do in our spare time. It's serious.
One of the great things about being a Bassmaster Classic champ is that it gives you a platform from which to speak. I intend to use my platform this year to speak in favor of recreational sportfishing and to fight these people tooth and nail.
I want to make our case to the people in the middle, those who don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. Men and women who fish are already on our side; those in the animal rights movement are already against us. If we can get the middle-of-the-roaders, we'll win for sure.
While I was in Birmingham, several of us — bass fishing personalities — filmed short segments for public service announcements to start fighting back against these extremists. As the year goes on we'll be doing more. I'll give you the details in a future blog.
One last thing: Over the next few days I'll be writing an article for Bassmaster.com about this year's Classic — what happened on the stage and in the press conferences, and what an extraordinary event it was. It'll detail all the things that it takes to put one on, along with the men and women who sacrifice so much to make it look easy. I'm asking you to read it when it's posted.
As a sport, we need to say thanks to the fans, the volunteers, the vendors, the sponsors, the media, BASS personnel, BASS and ESPN. They do one heck of a job under sometimes difficult circumstances.
Remember, it's all about the attitude.