Fritts just glad to be here

This tournament is the season-opener for David Fritts. He was recovering from Covid-19 diagnosed on January 5 and didn’t participate at the St. Johns River two weeks ago. He’s still suffering from a lack of stamina.

“I feel good, I just don’t have any energy,” the 65-year-old B.A.S.S. legendary angler said Thursday. “You’re just draggin’ around. After about a half to three-quarters of a day of fishing, I am worn out. I mean flap out.”

And here Fritts is on Saturday, Day 3, on the verge of qualifying for the top 10 final at the Tennessee River. Fritts was in 44th place on Day 1 with 6-10, moved up to 35th on Day 2 with 9-11, and is currently in 10th place on BassTrakk with his first 5-bass limit of the week of 14-5.

Fritts said he went 11 days after being diagnosed with Covid before his health took a significant dive. “I had a heart rate of 180-plus for almost four days,” he said. “I’m lucky to be here. If you ever get that close to not being here, you appreciate life more.”

Yes, Jeff Gustafson’s smallmouth slugfest is the story of this tournament so far. But David Fritts qualifying for Sunday’s final would be a close runner-up.