The Red River has been drifting along for 10 years, whittling down its trees and morphing its shape. Chris Price has also been on a journey of change for the same 10 years. Next week, the two shall meet again.
Price fished the Red in April 2002, when he took the runner-up spot in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship and won a berth to the 2002 Bassmaster Classic, where he placed 29th.
Price became a father after that Classic and focused more on family than on fishing for many years.
But now he’s back, and the Red River lies in wait for his arrival. In 2002, Price plucked 42 pounds, 12 ounces from the water. Now, he estimates it will take 60 pounds to win.
“Anyone catching 20 a day will be feeling pretty strong,” said Price, who spent two rainy weeks in December 2011 pre-fishing the Red. “It has changed a lot in 10 years. The trees have rotted down, so it looks a lot different. And I’ve spent a lot of time just learning the new shape of the river.
“I’ve got a couple of places that I think will be good,” he continued. “But it’s going to come down to pressure. There’s only 49 of us, but it will fish small, and some areas will be crowded. If I can get away from the other fisherman, I’ll be good.”
Price’s son, Eric, 9, and daughter, Ava, 4, are excited about their first trip by airplane from their home in Maryland. “They’ve been wound up for the last month!” They will arrive with his wife next week.
Price said he’s slightly nervous, but because he’s fished the Classic before, he knows what to expect. Plus, he has his roommate, Jamie Horton, along on a similar journey. Horton was his roommate 10 years ago, when the pair fished the Classic together after outperforming their competitors on the Red.
How much can change in a decade? We’ll see next week when Price and Horton work to re-conquer the Red River.