CELEBRATION, Fla. — Jeff Reynolds is quietly becoming known as a 'money angler,' and he hopes to ride his current hot streak to the top of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series.
The Idabel, Okla., resident has finished in the money in five of the six Elite Series tournaments he has competed in this year, including scoring back-to-back top 10 finishes in Elite Series action. His next chance to keep the momentum going comes when the Series visits Kentucky Lake in Kentucky Dam Village, Ky., on June 15-18 for the Bluegrass Brawl.
"I'm getting a lot more confident in my fishing ability," he said. "I'm just getting more relaxed out there."
"Confident" is a word that Reynolds uses often. In his fourth season as a pro, Reynolds has grown professionally and personally and feels his stellar results in BASS tournaments reflect that growth. He is ranked 23rd on the Elite Series Bassmaster Power Index, catching an average of 30-11 per tournament.
"I really learned a lot in the last two years," he said. "Like a lot of fishing techniques I didn't know. I've said before that maybe I came out on the tour too early, even though I made the Classic that first year. But I feel much more confident now. Some guys are known for being great at one style, but I feel confident fishing any style."
Reynolds said he is enjoying being part of the Elite Series, a new concept in professional bass fishing this year that is offering more than $7.5 million in prize money for 11 events at some of America's best fisheries. The tournaments are scheduled at the right times of year to produce optimum fishing at all venues, and Reynolds approaches each tournament unlike many of his fellow anglers.
"My deal is different than most of the other guys," said Reynolds. "I seem to fish better on tournament days. I'm not much into the practice. That doesn't mean I don't practice and don't study up, but I try to focus on the tournament days. I think a lot of people get mentally beaten in practice. I do better just fishing by the seat of my pants and just trying to run a pattern."
That approach carries over into his life off the water, too.
"The biggest thing that keeps me focused is that I don't fish at all when I'm not at a BASS event," he said. "My wife is out of school now, and I'm spending time with her. I also just got a new horse for roping and I'm really enjoying that. I don't get burned out from fishing all the time. I've found something else I love and can spend time doing away from fishing. That has helped me more than anything."
While his immediate goal is to win an Elite Series tournament and take home the $100,000 top prize, Reynolds also has his eye on the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year title — he's currently 23rd in the standings — and qualifying for bass fishing's most major event, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, to be held on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Ala., Feb. 23-25, 2007.
"The Classic is everything in bass fishing," said Reynolds. "You ask somebody who won the Bassmaster Classic and most people are going to know. It's more of a prestigious tournament and a career-making tournament than anything else out there."
Reynolds' sponsors include Nitro Boats, Mercury Outboards, Mossy Oak Premium Fishing Line, Zoom fishing tackle, Yo-Zuri America, Inc. lures, CastAway Graphite Rod and Okuma Fishing Tackle reels.