To say the Bassmaster Classic didn't go as planned is an understatement. I had high hopes for this Classic on a body of water I truly enjoy fishing. Plus, I had so many friends, family and neighbors there I was bummed to not have the tournament I had hoped.
Things never went right almost from the first cast ... literally. On one of my first few casts, I hooked into a fish and ended up bringing nothing but a split-ring and the lip of the bait back to the boat. After that nothing went quite as planned. Was it the weather? Did I miss something? I'm not sure, but I'll reflect on that later.
I missed fishing the final day by one spot and just a few ounces. It was really a blessing in disguise. As much as I wanted to fish the final day, I really wasn't in position to win the event. Instead I was able to spend the time at the Classic Expo with my sponsors and meet a lot of great bass fisherman and bass fans.
All in all, I felt like I practiced hard and did a lot of research for this event. In hindsight, my history with the lake might have hurt me. From what I'm hearing, guys were catching fish with baits I love, but had ruled out months before the event. I don't think my 26th place finish was from lack of effort. Sometimes in fishing, the stars just don't line up right and you have to gather yourself and get back on the horse for the next event. That's exactly what I'm going to do.
Although the event didn't go as well as I had hoped, I still had a lot of fun and it was incredible to see the amount of support I had in Tulsa. Special thanks to my wife Bobbi and my sister Stacey for helping with the coordinating of all of our supporters. With matching shirts, big heads, extra big heads, signs and all kinds of fun stuff, that had to be a lot of work. I really appreciate it and only wish we could have brought home a trophy.
Now that the event is over, it's time to get focused on the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season. It's going to be tough to match last year, but I'm going to give it my best shot. The season kicks off in just a few weeks at the Sabine River in Texas, before we head to one of the greatest lakes on the planet, Falcon. I'm excited for the season and can't wait to get the Trokar-wrapped Triton/Mercury into the great state of Texas.
I'd also like to say that B.A.S.S. put on another tremendous Bassmaster Classic. Everything went smooth, and I can't believe the turnouts both at the ramp and at the arena. Tulsa and surrounding areas came out and supported the event. It was a pretty special feeling to pull up to the BOK Center and see lines of people down the street waiting to get in and see us weigh our fish.
My hat's off to Cliff Pace. He will be a tremendous ambassador for our sport and a great champion. Cliff is a class individual. and although he might not show his excitement like many others, I'm sure he's thrilled with his accomplishment. Congratulations to Cliff, his family and his sponsors.