With a berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, Opens pro Cliff Crochet has fulfilled a lifelong dream. Sweetening the deal is his qualification for the 2010 Elite Series, which he hopes is the first of many seasons on tour. Here's how the Cajun rookie answered our 20 Questions:
1. Where are you from, originally?
Pierre Part, La.
2. How did you get started in bass fishing?
With my daddy, we'd fish around the house when I was a kid.
3. Who were some of your earliest fishing heroes?
Probably Mark Davis. When he won the Classic in 1995, that's when I was really getting into fishing... and reading Bassmaster Magazine. Tommy Biffle, as well. The guys who were making their careers in the early '90s and are now veterans — those guys.
4. What do you do for a living?
I've been a deputy sheriff for Assumption Parish in Louisiana for eight years.
5. What's the biggest bass you've ever caught?
Eight pounds, 4 ounces. I got it out of Lake Guntersville during practice last year for a Southern Open.
6. What do you love most about bass fishing?
I love being outdoors and the competition.
7. What is your greatest strength as a bass angler?
Power fishing. Anything shallow or aggressive — moving baits basically.
8. What is your greatest weakness as a bass angler?
Versatility and deep water.
9. Where is your favorite place to fish for bass and why?
Atchafalaya Basin. It's my home water and it's so big you can run around for five days and never fish the same area.
10. What does qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic mean to you?
It's a fulfillment of a dream that I've had since I was a kid. I never knew it could come true. I knew I was applying myself and taking the proper steps to achieve my goals, and I never knew if I would make it or not. Finally making it makes all the hard work and all the reading and videos worth it.
11. How long have you been trying to get to the Classic?
Since 2005, when I first fished Federation Nation events.
12. Do you have any fishing superstitions?
Funny you say that. Normally I keep my hair nice and short because of my job, but when I catch some and there's a tournament coming up, I don't shave. For example, if it's pre-practice and I'm getting bit, I won't shave. Scouting through the Basin (for the final 2009 Central Open), I was having a decent practice and I hadn't shaved in about a week, so I didn't through the whole tournament.
13. How big a part does luck play in fishing?
Luck has some part in fishing, but I think it's the preparation and the mental part that is the major part, like staying alert and staying in it.
14. What do you hope will come out of your Classic berth?
I hope it's the beginning of a career.
15. What goals have you yet to accomplish in your bass fishing career?
I'd like to make a living out of it, and be part of the industry.
16. What keeps you motivated to reach those goals?
Seeing other people do it. Guys like Mark Davis, Tommy Biffle, even Dean Rojas and Greg Hackney. Seeing that it can be done.
17. What advice would you give to Opens pros?
Stay positive and keep fishing because it is a positive attitude that got me this far.
18. When you're not bass fishing, how do you like to spend your time?
Working! (laughs) I work a whole bunch
19. What have you been doing since your win?
I've spent a lot of time on the phone trying to run down sponsor deals; I've also tried to spend as much time as I can with my family and friends. They've been a big part of my fishing since day one. I try to spend a lot of time with them so we can enjoy it together.
20. When it's all over, how do you want people to remember you?
I want to be remembered as a good fellow who did it the right way and left the sport with more than when I came in.