Wiggins: Show me the money

Earlier today on Bassmaster LIVE, co-host Mark Zona and Elite Series rookie Jesse Wiggins recalled a phone conversation from last night. Basically, it came down to this: Zona asked Wiggins if he needed to promote on Bassmaster LIVE the fact that Wiggins was single and didn't currently have a girlfriend. You know, like, do you want a girlfriend?

"Sure, if she's a sponsor," Wiggins replied, jokingly.

Like any good joke, there's a grain of truth there. Wiggins has his mind on his lack of money and his lack of money on his mind. He has taken a serious, long-term view of the funds required to compete in this sport for many years. Wiggins qualified for the Elite Series in 2014, but didn't pull the trigger.

"I didn't have the money," Wiggins said. But he wouldn't have been the first guy to try the Elite Series without realistically having the money and sponsorship to do so. 

With a win at Alabama's Smith Lake last year, Wiggins earned a spot in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. And when he won the Southern Open at Florida's Harris Chain last month, he qualified for the 2018 Classic. 

"I've bought myself two years now," he said. But the 27-year-old angler is still working as a respiratory therapist part-time, when he's not fishing. If he finishes his first Elite Series tournament with a win, the sponsorship money might begin to flow.

But until then, Wiggins doesn't care to have a girlfriend or any other distractions. "I wanted to make sure I did this before I started any of that," he said. "I need to catch 'em more than anybody, I promise you."

Wiggins has had his eyes on the pro bass fishing prize for several years now. That decision to delay joining the Elite Series when he qualified in 2014 is already paying off. And he may be on the verge of hitting the jackpot.