Jamie Horton is a very competitive man. He’s a huge football fan (Roll Tide!), he attends at least 100 baseball games a year, and he’s fished 10 national tournaments (including the 2002 Bassmaster Classic).
“It’s not that I can’t handle ‘not winning,’” explained Horton. “It’s that I hate losing.”
He hasn’t had to do a whole lot of losing recently. The Centreville, Ala., angler was the overall winner at the 2011 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship just three months ago, and he has accepted his invitation to compete in the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series.
For Horton, though, he grades his tournament success less on how high his finish was and more on how well he feels like he performed. “If I gave it everything and did my best, I feel I’ve been successful. I’ve had a lot of tournaments where I’ve won but I’ve still been upset with my performance.”
Since the 2002 Classic, Horton says he’s matured as a fisherman. “I’ve gotten a lot of experience since then, and I know better how to handle pressure and what to expect.”
And he’s looking forward to the Red River, where he’s fished five tournaments before. “I know how to get in and out of places, and I know I’ve got to manage my time. The Red River fishes small,” Horton added. “I love it. It fishes like the Alabama River, where I grew up fishing. It’s got a lot of woods — a lot of good places for pitching and flipping — and it’s dirty water.”
This weekend, during unofficial practice, Horton is planning to hit seven or eight spots a day, and he hopes to settle on where he’ll spend the competition days by the time Sunday rolls around. On official practice day, Wednesday, Feb. 22, he plans to just brush up a little on his spots.
After the Classic, he won’t be going back to his day job as a project manager; he’ll be hitting the road for his first year as a professional fisherman. “This Classic is my opportunity to establish myself as a pro.”