As I write this, I’m heading up to New York from Tennessee for the last two tournaments of this year, and I’m excited. This is my chance to qualify for the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. I have a ways to go to do that, but these two waters are my favorites in the U.S. I think this is a real opportunity. It’s a matter of thinking positive.
That’s the way you have to be in the fishing business — positive. Back when I was in Australia I fished, but not for smallmouth or largemouth. We didn’t have any of them, but we followed bass fishing in the U.S. on TV, in Bassmaster Magazine and in the media. I decided then that I wanted to come here and bass fish professionally. I’d never caught one, though, so I started from scratch. The difference was like night and day. Being positive was essential.
Besides, it’s easy to be positive when your headed to Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River. I’ve had a lot of experience and a lot of success on both of them in the Opens and in the Elites — top 12s and top 20s. And, I’ve camped for two months at a time up there learning everything I could about the lake and about smallmouth bass.
However, I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m keeping an open mind when it comes to how to fish and where to fish. That’s the only way you can approach Elite Series tournaments.
Lake Champlain is likely to have a mix of largemouth and smallmouth. They’re different fish too. How and where to catch one will probably be very different from the other. It’ll be a learning process during practice.
The issue with the St. Lawrence River is very different. It’s probably going to be all smallmouth. The decision I’ll have to make there is whether to fish close to the ramp in the river or make a long run to the lake. Just like with Lake Champlain, it’ll be a learning process during practice.
I left early to go to New York. My plan is to go to Cayuga Lake and fish for a couple of days before I go to Lake Champlain. That’ll help me get going before the tournaments starts.
I’m particularly interested in whether the bass are at the end of their spawn or are in a true postspawn phase. That’ll be important during both tournaments. The bass at Cayuga Lake won’t be exactly the same but at least I’ll be able to get a little information to give me something to think about and a place to start.
There isn’t much else to say at this point. I really want to qualify for the 2022 Classic. It’s important to me from a personal and a professional point of view. I’m not going to make any bones about that and I’m not going to hold anything back.