Before we talk about anything else I want to congratulate Jordan Lee on his win at the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. Lee has quickly established himself as one of the best in our business, and I believe that as the years go by he’ll establish himself as one of the all-time greats.
I mean, he’s only one of three anglers to ever win a Classic two years in a row. What’s next? As a fan I can’t wait to see the answer to that question. As a competitor I’m not sure I want to see the answer to that question.
With that said: Bass fishing, no matter if you’re fishing a multi-day tournament or on a week long trip, is a game of predictions. You have to predict what they’ll do in the future — minutes, hours, days — to be successful.
My basic prediction was that the fish would move, but not very far and not very fast.
In practice I found what I thought might be the winning bass. It was about as good a practice as I’ve ever had. My fish were in 20 to 30 feet of water, and they were active enough to be caught on a Neko rig. The water was high and rising slowly, and it was also warming slightly, so I thought they’d stay where they were for a few days and wait for better spawning conditions.
That didn’t happen, and neither did my heavy sacks at the weigh-in. I predicted wrong.
It’s hard to say that there’s a positive to not making the cut and not fishing on Sunday. At the same time I say that, though, I have to say that I had a really good time at the EXPO on Sunday. I was able to help my sponsors out, talk with the fans and work the Ike Foundation booth.
The crowds were as heavy as I’ve ever seen them. And they were engaged, too. Everyone wanted to ask questions and learn how to catch more bass.
All the exhibits were popular and getting a lot of traffic, but Berkley’s Design a Lure might have generated the most interest. It was a thing where guys and gals could create their own colors and finishes on a bait. Some of what they put together was nothing short of crazy, but some of the other creations looked to me like they’d work.
I’m always impressed with how much our fans know about bass fishing. It’s important to me that we keep that in mind. The pros don’t have a lock on how to catch them and we don’t have all the answers. Some amateurs are as creative and knowledgeable as any Bassmaster Elite Series pro out there.
Another thing I saw and that impressed me was the fan interest in the Ike Foundation booth. We had several things going on there that seemed to interest everyone. There was a steady stream of people coming and going the whole time I worked it.
That’s important, but not because it’s about me and Becky or because it’s our foundation. It’s important because it puts bass fishing into the everyday lives of lots of people. It keeps them thinking about it and doing something with it. That’s where the future is in this sport. Without that there’s nothing.