This is the worst year I’ve had in my 30 years of fishing professionally, and I don’t really know why other than if it can happen, and it isn’t good, it has happened. I’m currently sitting on the 79th spot in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. I didn’t see it coming.
In one tournament I forgot how to tell time. That one hurt because I had a pretty good stringer of bass, but when you don’t show up on time much of that weight doesn’t count. When I did that I’d fished something around 265 B.A.S.S. tournaments and no telling how many FLW tournaments. You’d think I’d know enough by now to look at the clock.
The biggest thing, though, is that I just haven’t caught enough weight. It’s not that I haven’t caught bass. The darn things just haven’t weighed enough. If I catch 10 pounds, I needed to catch 12 pounds. If I caught 12 pounds, I needed to catch 14.
Some of that is me and some of that is the changing nature of our sport. It gets harder each year to stay competitive. I know that. My age isn’t helping, although I will say that my health hasn’t been a problem at all. My shoulder is in good shape and my lip seems to be OK after the surgery and treatment. I can’t blame anything on them.
I’m thankful for my good health, but it doesn’t help me hold off the younger anglers. They are good. I can see a big difference even in the past five years. It takes a lot more weight these days to be competitive.
There was a time when 10 pounds a day would put you in the Classic. It was almost a guarantee, at least as close as you’re going to get one in this sport. If you caught 12 pounds a day, and had a few heavy stringers during the year, you’d be in the running for Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Not anymore. All those weights will get you now is a Saturday and Sunday off work.
However, there has been some good news on the home front. Our son, Fisher, won the TBF/FLW 2016 Junior World Championship a little while ago here on Lake Guntersville. He’s only 14-years-old and in the ninth grade.
It’s funny. Seeing him win that title was more satisfying than any of the titles I’ve won over the years. Tilly and I were both tickled to death about it.
On a lesser scale, but still positive, I did have a respectable finish in the last Elite tournament on the Potomac River. I was never a threat to win or anything like that, but at least I fished on Saturday and was competitive. That’s something. I’m hoping that was an indication of things to come. I know the season is about over, but at this point I’ll take whatever I can get.
I don’t want this thing to sound negative or like I’m complaining. I’ve had a blessed life with Tilly and the kids. A man couldn’t ask for anything better. For the most part my fishing has been successful, too. Everyone has a bad year from time to time. I’m having mine now.