The Bassmaster Elite Series season is winding down, and it’s been a while since I said anything about the season I’m having. If you’ve looked at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings after the Lake Champlain tournament, you’ve seen that I’m in seventh place.
Obviously, I’d like to win AOY. In fact, it’s one of the big goals I have for my career, and every year I work hard to put myself in position to win it, the Bassmaster Classic and as many Elite Series tournaments as possible.
This year, except for the Classic where I went into the final day with a chance to win, I just haven’t put myself in the right position. Early in the year, I was struggling early in tournaments and working hard to recover on Days 2 and 3 just to salvage a decent finish.
In the last two events, I’ve started stronger but didn’t keep the momentum on the second day. The result has been some middle of the road finishes — good but not great. I haven’t made any Top 12s this year, and that’s disappointing.
It’s been a solid season overall, and I still think I can put together the right mix for a great tournament or two. Hopefully that will happen at St. Clair in the final regular season event and at Mille Lacs in the AOY Championship. There’s still a lot of fishing to be done, and I plan to be out there competing every day.
The other thing that’s been on my mind lately has been the upcoming 2017 OPTIMA Batteries Healing Heroes in Action event. I’ve partnered with OPTIMA again to fish with combat-wounded Purple Heart veterans and give back to our nation’s heroes.
The OPTIMA Batteries Healing Heroes in Action program raises money for the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation by offering my fans the chance to bid on an opportunity to fish against me, other anglers and our veteran partners. This event promises to be one of the best ever for a lot of reasons.
First, it supports an important cause. We owe a great debt to the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. They keep us safe, allow us to live the American dream and they deserve our support.
Second, the event is going to be held on a phenomenal fishery — Gull Lake, just outside of Brainerd, Minn. The place is a smallmouth factory, and the trip is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 8, which should be perfect.
Third, joining me as boat captains for the event are my friends Todd Faircloth and Ish Monroe. Not only are these guys great anglers, but they have big hearts. Thank you, Todd and Ish.
The winning bidder needs to bring his or her own boat, equipment and a partner. We’ll have a fun competition on the water and there will be plenty of time to socialize before and after the fishing.
My sponsors and I are putting together a gift package for the winning bidders that’s going to make your head spin. Optima Batteries is donating some great stuff. Bass Pro Shops has a big gift card for the auction winner and some Johnny Morris Signature Platinum combos for the veterans. Lowrance is giving away an Elite-9 Ti unit. Pelican is donating coolers and tumblers. Wiley X will put everyone in a new pair of great sunglasses. General Tire is giving away a set of tires. And that’s not all.
I haven’t done the math, but the gift items alone are worth thousands of dollars.
To take part in the trip, you need to go to my Facebook page and place the winning bid. Your money will be going to a great cause — Wounded Warriors in Action — and you and a fishing partner will be going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with me, Ish Monroe and Todd Faircloth.
Bidding opens today (Aug. 4) at noon and closes at noon on Aug. 11. The winner will be announced immediately after that. I hope you’ll check it out, keep Sept. 8 open on your calendar and make a bid. We’re going to have amazing fishing with some wonderful people on a fantastic body of water while supporting a very worthwhile cause. Where else can you have a great time while doing the right thing? You should be there!