Lake St. Clair: Going for broke

Tomorrow we’ll be starting the last Elite Series tournament of the 2013 season. I wish we had several more coming up. It would be OK with me if B.A.S.S. doubled the number of Elites. And it’s not just because that would give me more chances to do better, increase my standing in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race and maybe qualify for the Classic.

It’s because I love to fish competitively at this level. It’s fun. Launching my boat and fishing against these guys — forget about the fact that they’re all scary good — is something I’ve dreamed about all my life. It’s what I do. I fish tournaments. No matter how many of them I fish, I always wish I could fish more. There are never enough to satisfy me.

At the same time, though, there are other emotions at play. It’s nice to conclude the season. I don’t know why but it gives me a sense of accomplishment, even though I always wish I had done better.

The last event is also a time when a lot of us pull out all the stops. I can’t speak for every angler but I do know that there are more than a handful of us who are not sitting high enough in the AOY standings to get a Classic berth. We know that this is our last opportunity to qualify through the Elites.

Lots of times you’ll hear guys say they are going to go for the win, that if they can’t win they don’t care where they finish. It’s a common thought. I say it from time to time. On some level, it’s true.

On another level, however, it isn’t. We often pull back when we get on fish and try for a big sack, not the biggest sack. It’s a natural thing to do. We’re programmed to catch fish. That’s the way it works in my case, anyway.

But that’s not so much true when we’re fishing the very last one.  This is the one after which there’ll be no other. Several of us really do mean that it’s all or nothing this time. Don’t kid yourself, and don’t let anyone else kid you, there isn’t an angler fishing the Elites who doesn’t want to launch his boat on Lake Guntersville next February.

It’s fun to watch the difference in how a lot of us fish. I know for myself that I’m not really looking for fish so much as I’m looking for giants. It’s a totally different mindset. I don’t want 15 or 18 pounds of bass. I don’t even want 20 pounds of bass. I want more than that, enough to blow the other guys out of the water.

As I write that, I realize some readers might think that’s a little (or a lot) selfish. Maybe so, but we’re competitors. I’m here to win if I can. I wish no one else anything bad. That’s not my style. I do wish myself good, however.

To appreciate what I’m talking about you have to experience it. The best way I know to do that is to follow the action on this site.

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