The 2014 Elite Series season has come to a close for me and I can't believe it's already over. As a fan, I have always watched The Bassmasters on TV (and I still do). We all saw the guy that caught 80 pounds over four days lifting the trophy high over his head while the crowd cheers. What we didn't see, was the guy that drove 4,273 miles by truck over three weeks, a few hundred miles by boat, and then fished in the sun, rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. Through all that, he was able to put only 19 pounds of bass in the boat over two events. That guy was me.
I'm not saying that to get sympathy. I knew what I was getting into. I'm a pretty resilient and determined individual, although you may never know that from talking to me. I've been doing this for a number of years and I've had bad years before. Unfortunately for me, I've had one of my toughest years at the worst possible time while when I needed it the most. As I have said before, sometimes when God leads us down a certain path there's no guarantee there will be success at the end.
With all that said, I'd do it again if given the opportunity. It was the best fishing experience of my life and I learned so much this year and a lot of it had nothing to do with fishing. I underestimated the adjustment from the local/regional level to the Elite level. I guess if I had to pick one aspect of the adjustment that I had the most trouble with it was the 2 1/2 days of practice before each event. That's enough time if I've been there before but having never seen most of these bodies of water it was tough to overcome. I'm not using that as an excuse because I know a lot of guys have success with only that amount of time. That was just the part I had the most trouble with. We're all different on how we prepare and fish. What works for some doesn't work for others. So, for all of you aspiring Elite anglers out there, just be prepared. I hope you win your first event and your career starts with a bang. I'm not sure where I will go from here. Only time will tell.
In closing, I want to thank all my sponsors this year for giving me this opportunity: Fun n Sun Boats, Skeeter, Yamaha, McMillan Insurance Group, Warrior Baits, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Talon, Classic Fiberglass, Holman Boiler Works, Double ZZ Lures, Sixth Sense Lures, Power Tackle Rods, and HooDoo Electronics. If given the opportunity, please support them as they were willing to help an everyday guy like me live a dream. I couldn't have done it without them. They are all great products backed by even better people.
I would also like to thank B.A.S.S. for allowing me to do this. I tried to write from a rookie's perspective to provide a different view. Fishing techniques can be found anywhere. It's the mental side of fishing that is so underestimated. It's been a great experience.
Dream It. Believe It. Live it.