Mixed emotions

I’m filled with mixed emotions right now. On the positive side our new baby’s arrival is getting close. Macie and I went to Ohio last week for a baby shower. She’s from Ohio so that was nice. Friends and family attended, and she got a lot of gifts we’ll be needing shortly. We’re going to have another one this weekend down here in South Carolina. That’ll be nice, too. 

After that it’ll be time to head to the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, and that’s where the mixed emotions come into play.

I’ve always been an angler who fished to win. I don’t usually think that I need to catch five keepers so that I make sure I qualify for the next Classic. That’s just not me. I deal with each tournament as it comes with my eye on the win. But there’s a price for that attitude.   

Anytime you go for broke in competition you run the risk of defeat, serious defeat. I always said I understood that and was willing to pay that price. And, until recently that was absolutely true. I believed that I was totally into that line of thinking. I knew I wasn’t the angler who would always qualify for the Classic. My style of fishing was such that I knew there would be years that I wouldn’t make it. That was OK with me. 

But then along came the changes in our industry. In my opinion B.A.S.S. and the Bassmaster Elite Series are better than they’ve ever been. It’s a relaxed atmosphere with everyone having fun. We’re in a better place, and for that I’m grateful. 

At the same time, though, I realize now that this is the Classic I really want to fish. It’s one thing to understand something in your head. It’s another to feel it in your heart. The more time I spend on this site reading about all the doings that’ll happen next week, and the fishing predictions, the more it hurts not to be a part of it.

With three Classics under my belt I know the story. The one in 2011 was a while ago but the other two — 2017 and 2018 — are just behind me. That makes it worse because I can vividly remember the pride I felt when I launched my boat, and the festivities. This year that’s not going to happen, not for me anyway. I lost my concentration and didn’t qualify.   

I don’t want to work the show. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the opportunity to promote my sponsors and to interact with the crowd. Both have helped me. It’s only right I help them, and I’ll do that with all my heart. But I don’t want to work the show.

At the same time I say that, however, there is one positive out of it all. The pain I feel today will push me forward tomorrow. It’ll give me a renewed dedication and energy when we get back on the trail. In a crazy way I’m thankful for that. It’ll make me a better angler.

I hope all of you can attend this year’s Classic. Look me up. I’ll be on the floor with a smile on my face ready to talk bass fishing.