Bassmaster Southern Open

CONCORD, N.C. — It's pretty much like a dream right now. Every kid dreams of making it to the Bassmaster Classic. It'll take some time for it to sink in, I'll tell you that. I've never been interviewed so much, or talked so much, in my life. It's one of those things where everything went right.

I haven't fished seriously all that long — maybe two years — so I don't claim to be an expert in this sport. But, I am an experienced motocross racer — my dad was a top motorcycle drag racer — and I think some of the things I learned doing that will help me fish competitively.

The most important thing is not to get ahead of yourself. I learned to take one race at a time in motocross. I'll do the same thing here — fish one tournament at a time. That means I'll worry about competing at Douglas Lake before I worry about the Classic.

One good tournament doesn't make a season or a career. You have to put everything together. The only way I know how to do that is to not look too far ahead. I'll fish each tournament as an individual event and worry about the next one when the time comes. It's a matter of taking one step at a time.

The other thing is that I need to work on my fundamentals. I caught most of my fish off one stump with a crankbait on Norman. That worked for that tournament, but it won't work all the time. I know that. I need to practice every technique in the book until I know how to do them and when to use them. That's my plan for the summer. I'll practice and then practice some more.

I might try to get into some of the other Opens if there's still room, too. That experience will help me a lot. I need to fish other waters against other guys. That's a part of getting better.

When it comes time to get ready for the Classic, I'll spend a lot of time on my computer looking at Google Earth. That's the greatest online tool for getting the information you need for a tournament. It has everything. I use it a lot.

After that, I'll go down and fish the Red River to see what's going on. I don't know anything about it, so it'll all be new to me. I'm hoping for low water when I get there, so I can see as much as possible and make some plans.

However it all turns out, though, I'm about as happy as you can get. I mean, to qualify for a Classic this way and get to fish against those guys is the experience of a lifetime. The only thing better might be qualifying for the Elite Series. I'd like that. That's my real goal. I want to fish at the highest level I can.