Jones: 'I was fortunate'

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James Overstreet

The third day was a fortunate one for me at the 2020 Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open at Arkansas River. I live 10 minutes from the river, and I won the Open on her back in 2013 so it’s not like I didn’t know the water. Still, catching a big sack like I did is something you can’t count on doing. You can hope for it, but not count on it. 

Anyway, I’m thankful and couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out. The win is a big deal — any win at a professional level is a big deal — but there’s more to it than the trophy and the money. 

We all know that the Bassmaster Classic is the tournament in all of professional bass fishing. I’ve fished it once, and I’ve fished other big tournaments, but the Classic is the tournament of all tournaments. We all say it’s the Super Bowl of bass fishing. That’s a cliché, I know. But it’s true. I’m where I want to be — in for the second time. 

Beyond that, this win is a positive thing for my overall career with B.A.S.S. I’ve fished Bassmaster Opens off and on for about 10 years. But my B.A.S.S. roots go back way past that. I’ve been a Life Member since I don’t remember when. I’ve always respected the organization and wanted to be a part of it at some level.   

Recently, however, I’ve been fishing the Costa Series over at FLW. I’ve had some success, too. I won one on Grand Lake, and in 2017 I qualified for and fished the FLW Cup. I won an Angler of the Year title, too. Those things will always mean a lot to me. I’ll never forget them. 

But things are different now. You could see it coming before it ever happened. Things weren’t like they once were in the sport. I took a hard look at everything, thought things through carefully, and decided that the Bassmaster Elite Series was the most stable platform on which to launch a serious professional career. 

When I say that I don’t mean to say anything bad about other fishing organizations. It’s just that certain formats don’t suit my style of fishing. I don’t like the idea of keeping every fish. That’s not my thing. I’m a big fish angler. That’s where my head is at, and how I want to fish. 

So I made the decision to fish all four events in the Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens in the Central Division this year with the goal of making it to the Elites. This win gets me off on the right foot. It’s no guarantee that I’ll be an Elite in 2021, but it sure makes it doable if I fish the way I know I can fish in the last three tournaments.

So that’s where things are at in my world. I’ll be fishing some and working at my job as a CNC programmer until the second week in September when the competition starts at the 2020 Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open at Sam Rayburn. I can only hope for a solid event so that I can continue on towards my goal.