Day in and day out, Tom Jessop roams the wide open range, checking the cows he has just bought or is about to deliver to a new owner.
“I play cowboy a lot,” said Jessop, a cattle buyer in Dalhart, Texas. “My lifestyle is great!”
But Jessop is switching gears today, when he heads out on the Red River for the first unofficial practice day for 2012 Bassmaster Classic competitors. This Classic is something he’s been working toward for a long time.
“I’ve been on the state team that was sent to divisionals 13 times, and I’ve made it to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship four times,” Jessop said. “I’m finally here, and for me, it’s about winning. Nobody remembers who comes in second or third.”
To win any tournament, Jessop said, it comes down to these three things: making a solid effort, knowing what to expect and being able to adapt. “I learned a long time ago that you’ve got to work hard at this. Practice pays off, and having a sense of what size fish will win the tournament will help you make better decisions.”
Jessop is looking forward to getting out on the Red River today to see how clear the water is, how high it is and what the shad are doing. “I was afraid the water might be cold and we might have bad weather, but it looks like it might warm up and be a great tournament.”
Jessop’s wife and business partner, Jodie, is in Shreveport-Bossier City with him now, pacing the floor until she finds out how he did each day. She’s been very supportive of his pursuit of the black bass, said Jessop, adding: “She’s a keeper!”