Congratulations, Casey

Before we talk about anything else, I want to say congratulations to Casey Ashley on his win at the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. He fished a solid tournament under really difficult, and changing, conditions. He earned his win.

I’ve known Casey all of his professional life. He’s a class act, someone I admire. There’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing a lot of him in the next year as he promotes bass fishing around the country. He has the attitude and the personality to make it happen for all of us.

The thing I most admire about him is his skill as an angler, and I do mean his skill. He knows how to fish. He does his own thing on the water. You’ll never see him doing anything in a tournament that he hasn’t developed himself. He’s the very best of what professional bass fishing has to offer.

As much as I admire him and his performance in the Classic, however, I have to say that I’m disappointed in mine.

My practice was pretty good. (I’m not real comfortable saying that. Your practice at a Classic is only good if you win. We’ll talk more about that later.)

Anyway, I didn’t get a lot of bites but the ones I did get were in the 3-pound class. I spent the first two days — Friday and Saturday — mostly trying to develop something that I thought might get me the winning weight. I had a decent crankbait bite going shallow, but I didn’t think I could win with it so I concentrated on a deeper water pattern.

By Sunday, and again on Wednesday, I’d found several schools of bass holding on the edge of some standing timber in 38-42 feet of water. I had a bite going with a spoon and a one-ounce jig. I figured the fish would stay put because the weather was supposed to get worse as the start of the tournament approached.

The weather did exactly that but my fish didn’t stay put. When I went back to them on Friday morning, I couldn’t see a thing on my electronics. It was like they just disappeared. I fished the area anyway but, it didn’t do any good.

Come noon or so I started to head towards shallow water. My idea was to try and salvage something. But, I changed my mind and decided to give my deep water spots another shot. I found some good fish nearby in 30 feet of water. At that point I felt pretty good.

That good feeling changed quickly on Saturday morning. I fished shallow later in the day to try to make the cut for Sunday even though I knew I wasn’t going to win. That didn’t happen, either. So, I’m disappointed in how things worked out. It’s especially frustrating because I know I was within a cast or two of the winning weight.

It would be nice to say I’m satisfied or feel good and that I was just glad to be at the Classic but that wouldn’t be true. I’m glad I was there, but I’m not satisfied and I don’t feel good. The Bassmaster Classic is a winner takes all event. If you’re not the winner, you’re the loser.

Next time we’ll talk some more about what I mean when I say that.