We’re heading toward the final two events of the Elite season and that has me thinking about my perspective. At the beginning of the year, most guys are excited to get the season under way. I definitely understand that, because I could fish year-round and enjoy it. But after several months off, you’re ready for a new beginning: a clean slate.
As the season goes on, your perspective develops, according to how you’re performing. If you’re having a good season, you’re wanting to finish strong, and if you’re having a bad season, you just want to get it over with.
Going into these events, I’m right inside Classic cut, so I’m ready to go right now. I’ll admit the Classic has been on my mind the past few weeks. I want to go do the final work to get the job done.
I love fishing all through the year, but I wish we had a few more fall tournaments because we’re getting into my favorite time of year to fish. I guess that may be another reason I’m so eager to get after these last two tournaments.
It’s always good to carry a positive attitude into a the tournament and that’s especially important for the final regular-season event on Lake Tenkiller. Going into that event, I’m sitting in 37th place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, so that’s going to affect my strategy.
My goal is to have a solid event where I make a top 20 or top 25, because that will allow me to go into the AOY Championship only needing to catch one fish to qualify for the Classic. Basically, I want to go into the AOY Championship 50 points over the first man out, so I can focus on winning the tournament, rather than worrying about points.
Being in the mid 30s in points, I really can’t move up enough in points to earn more money in the AOY Championship. The next pay increase is at 25th place, and with only 50 boats fishing the championship, you can’t mathematically move up 10 places to the next money level.
I’m really looking forward to fishing that final event because I’ve done well on Lake St. Clair — I finished second the last time we were there in 2017. But before I can do that, I have to focus my attention on Tenkiller.
I understand why B.A.S.S. had to move this event from Fort Gibson, but I was actually looking forward to that original location. I’ve done well there in the past and that experience would have given me that mental advantage of knowing what to do. Now, we’re headed to a highland reservoir that may play into another guy’s hand.
I’ve never fished Tenkiller, but I’ve done as much homework as I can do. I would love it if the water was high and the fish were in the bushes, because I think the lake would fish bigger. But with the water dropping, I think we’ll see the fish more scattered. That will likely lead to a lot of schooling fish, and the trouble there is that schoolers are usually the smaller ones.
Regardless of what I find on Tenkiller, I’m committed to my game plan. I just have to stay focused and remember that as long as I can go out and have a good finish, I’ll be able to earn my Bassmaster Classic berth.