The past several months have been pretty crazy. Since qualifying for the Elites in June, all I have done is work 50-hour weeks, work on getting sponsors and fish on the weekends. Staying busy is good, but I haven’t much time to think about next year’s tournaments.
Now that work is slowing down, I am starting to put together game plans for each tournament. I will have a pretty busy schedule, as I will be competing in Elite Series events (8), Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Opens (3) and a Central Open (1). Twelve tournaments will be a lot for my first year fishing full time, but I like staying busy. The more I’m on the water, the better my decision making is.
I am excited about all of the events for next year, but a few really have got me pumped up. My Top 5 tourneys for next season are as follows:
1.) St. Johns River (March 15-18)
It is my first Elite event! I have never been there, but I have heard about it since I was a kid. My family on my mom’s side lives only 1.5 hours north, and many of them will be there cheering me on. Based on last year’s tournament there, sight fishing could play a big role, and that is something that I really like to do.
2.) Lake Norman (April 5-7)
I have fished several tournaments there this time of year, and it is really fun in March and April. My best finish this year was at Norman, and I would like to do even better next year. Norman fishes similar to Ft. Loudon Lake here in Knoxville, Tenn. They both get a ton of fishing pressure, but keep producing good numbers of fish year after year.
3.) Douglas Lake (May 3-6)
It is incredible that the Elite Series is coming this close to my house in my rookie season. Douglas is not my home lake, but it is only an hour away. My family and friends will be there, and this will be an exciting tournament for sure. The biggest bags of the season could happen there. Douglas has some big fish in it, and we will be hitting it at the prime time. I got to step up my game here, because I have to put on a good show for my parents.
4.) Mississippi River (June 21-24)
This tournament will be fun. I’ve never been there, but I heard that we will be fishing the best pools on the river. This part of the river has great numbers of smallmouth and largemouth. My two favorite techniques – flippin’ and topwater – should play big at this event. I love fishing in the North, and this tournament will not disappoint.
5.) Smith Lake (October 4-6)
I have never been to Smith Lake but I like fishing clear water and fall fishing, so I should feel right at home. My home lake is deep and clear, like Smith, and those types of lakes can get tricky in the fall. It may turn out to be a low weight tournament. I really like tough tournaments, where every bite counts, and having the right mindset is half of the battle.
Next year is going to be exciting, and I can’t wait ‘til we get it started. I think it will be a successful year, as long as I keep the right attitude and just have fun. Every tournament that I get to compete in is a blessing, and I will not take that for granted.
Remember to chase your dreams!