One last Classic shot

This year my competitive bass fishing has been very trying for many reasons. But don’t think for one minute that this is a "woe is me" piece. It isn’t, not even a little bit. Fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series is an important part of my life, but it isn’t the only part. I’ve been blessed more than most this year in many other ways.

I’ve made it a point in my life to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. It’s a matter of always trying to look at the positives in everything.

As for my tournament performances, once COVID-19 hit, I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. I started out in good shape. I finished second at the 2020 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River back in February. That was followed up by a sixth-place finish in the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk in March.

During our scheduling difficulties and confusion about the virus, I fished more with my family than I have in the past five years. It was great. I loved every minute of it. It was something that I couldn’t have done in a normal year. You can’t complain about that.

My company, Missile Baits, did not have to close down so I was working every day, and business was good. Physically and emotionally I was excited to get back on the water in a B.A.S.S. tournament when we got started again.

I had reasonable practices for each of the events once we started fishing. Things just never worked out for me. I had a couple of real bombs on single days up north, which lead to barnacle finishes. There was nothing specific I can point to as a problem.

My Bass Cat, Mercury motor, Power-Pole system, Cashion Rods and all my other sponsored products never failed me. They performed flawlessly. I never lost a bunch of fish. I fished a lot like many of the other anglers fished.

Truthfully, I was (am) clueless. This is not the average of the last 15 years of my career. It was a string of anomalies — a disaster I couldn’t explain or even know what the reason was behind it.

As easy as it would be to get down on my year, I still have one shot to make some money and qualify for the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic on Lake Ray Roberts. That is winning the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department tournament on Lake Fork.

It’s the only “win and you’re in” event this year. And, along with those things Toyota is giving away a new Tundra for big bass. Winning that wouldn’t hurt me.

My glass is still half full, and I intend to make the best of it. I might not win, or catch the biggest bass of the tournament, but I assure you it won’t be for lack of preparation or effort on the water.

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