My story is from this year. It's a tough one, because this one fish may have ended my career.
It was at the Elite Series event at Guntersville. On Day 1, I had about 20 pounds in the well, and I was throwing a Picasso spinnerbait when a big fish hit. As soon as I saw how big it was, I kind of hurried up and rushed him in. When it got to the boat, I saw it was an honest 7-pounder. In my excitement, I bent down to lip it and when I did I accidentally hit the power tilt on the throttle. When that thing made the noise, that bass bulldogged under the boat and shook itself off.
I felt sick. That was the kind of fish that could move you up 10 places or so. Because of that, I missed the cut, and on an even bigger scale I missed the Classic. To take it one step further, missing the Classic may mean that I can't afford to fish the Elites again next year. The bit of money you get from the Classic usually means you can get a few more years based on the longevity it gives you, but losing that fish may have sunk my ship.
I've been doing this out of my own pocket for the last few years, and that really drains you. I've made my money back for the most part but that's it. I may have to go and fish another circuit to try and get the money back to where it needs to be so I can fish the Elites again.
It has been such a pleasure this past year with the Marshals in the boat; I want to do it again. However, it's not like me to go and beg for money, so we'll see how things play out.