Will 2013 be the year of the Hawk?

The 2013 Elite Series just might be one for the record books before it’s all over. You see, that’ll be the year Kevin Hawk might join our ranks. The 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open points champion is a serious angler with top skills, and he knows how to win under pressure. He could do big things next year.

In his short B.A.S.S. career, this man has fished nine events, six of them in 2012. He’s cashed a check in five events — one in 2010, four in 2012. He fished all three Northern Opens this year finishing in the Top 50 twice and the Top 10 once. In the Southern Opens he finished 4th twice and 7th once.

Technically this was not his first stab at Bassmaster Open level competition. In 2010 he fished three of them. That’s not to say he doesn’t know about serious professional bass fishing, however. He’s had a lengthy career with FLW, fishing just about everything they offer.

But the thing that really sets him apart over there is his performance in the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier. How he approached that tournament tells us something about this man, and something about what we might be facing come next March. After he qualified for that event he moved from the West Coast to Georgia where he practiced on Lanier for six months, getting ready for the biggest tournament of his young professional career.

He won, too!

That says something about professional bass fishing. It’s a sport where hard work and dedication will get you to the top. In most sports you need more than that, a lot more. I’m not saying there isn’t some natural talent involved with the great anglers because there is. I suspect Hawk has that natural talent. But he’s also sacrificed a lot to develop it.

I watched him this year. I’ll tell you there isn’t an angler out there who is better prepared or who puts more into a tournament. At the same time he’s courteous, pleasant to everyone and knows how to promote his sponsors in a professional way. He’s the kind of angler we need to move this sport forward.

He may or may not join us next year. There’s plenty of talk and rumor both ways, and I don’t claim to have any definitive inside information. In fact, Hawk himself claims not to have made a decision about the Elite Series. That may very well be true, but a quote just five days ago on his website is interesting:

“A strong finish at Smith Lake allowed me to clinch the B.A.S.S. Southern Opens points title. Now I have an opportunity to fish the 2013 Elites if I choose to do so. I’m going to take some time to make my decision, but my instincts are pushing me toward the Elites. As an angler I can’t help but rely on my instincts.”

Am I the only one who thinks we’ll see him next March?

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