Jeff Kriet grew up in Oklahoma but claims that the Arkansas River that runs through the state has never been among his favorite fisheries.
“I didn’t grow up fishing here, although I did fish it some in my early 20s,” said the Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Ardmore, Okla.
He said the main reason he’s in this week’s Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open out of Muskogee, Okla., is to try to get one of his good friends, Kelly Jordon, into the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.
Jordon was first man out on the Classic qualification points list through the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series. If an Elite Series pro double-qualifies for the Classic, Jordon will be the first man in. Kriet, who did qualify from the Elite Series, wants to win the Open to get Jordon into the upcoming Classic.
“If I was the first guy out, I’d want him to be fishing,” Kriet said. “I’d be mad at him if he’d paid up and didn’t go. I figured I’d at least give it a shot.”
Kriet is one of two Elite Series pros in position to get Jordon in. Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., is the other. Like Kriet, Browning’s already on the 2012 Classic roster and would be a double-qualifier.
Browning knows the Arkansas River well from the vantage point of his state. He’s not claiming any advantage, however.
“This is not the Arkansas River I grew up on. If we were there, I’d feel really at home,” he said.