PILOT POINT, Texas — Chase your dreams now was the message from Classic wives on an early bus ride from the hotel to the Isle du Bois launch site for Wednesday’s final practice.
There’s pride in qualifying for the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, and that’s felt by the spouses, who stand by their man chasing the Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dream.
Christy Williams, who’s been married to first-time qualifier Tommy since 2000, said it’s been an amazing journey moving from FLW to fish B.A.S.S., where he rejoined a bunch of friends. Williams won the Basspro.com Open on Lewisville Lake in 2020 to punch his ticket to fish one lake up on Lake Ray Roberts.
“He’s only been a year with B.A.S.S. — he fished an Open way back. He won one his first year out, so it’s just been a crazy journey,” she said.
While the victory was his biggest moment in fishing, he hopes to top it this week. Making the Classic is the pinnacle of his career.
“It definitely has changed things for us,” Christy said. “He’s now wanting to make the Elites this year. Right now he’s third in overall points, so we’re hoping he hangs onto that.”
The Williams brought son and daughter for the 13-hour drive from Shepherdsville, Ky., and have been taking in all the Classic activities. They spent a day at the pool meeting other families and their children. Their 9-year-old son was thrilled to make a connection with Kayt Davis because he loves Clent Davis’ Mr. Twister truck. “That’s Kayt’s daddy’s truck — I played with her,” he said.
It’s the second Classic for Chris Jones, 41, and wife, Angel, who rode the bus with sons Fisher and Hunter. “Guess who named them?” she said.
Fisher was resting on the ride but taking it all in. He was only 1 ½ for dad’s first championship in 2014, but said this “is 100% a big deal.”
The Joneses live three hours away in Bokoshe, Okla., and are happy to be back to the world championship after Chris’ second Opens win, both on the Arkansas River out of Muskogee, Okla. Jones’ parents were at the final practice launch, watching their son’s early love of fishing once again take him to the biggest stage.
Angel said Chris fished an event on Lake Fork with his dad when was just 6 or 7 and took away big bass honors and “still has that little trophy he won.”
Making a second Classic was probably more rewarding for Jones, she said.
“He was more so excited this time around,” she said, “probably because it proves that he can do this.”
Frank Talley’s story of waiting to raise a family before embarking on a full-time fishing career has been well-documented. As 2018 Opens point champion, Talley earned a berth to fish the 2019 Knoxville Classic, where he just missed the cut.
After a poor first Elite season, Talley, 46, won on Lake Guntersville in 2020 and qualified for this Classic from the Angler of the Year point standings. The successes aren’t lost on wife, Christy.
“It’s a really big deal for Frank just simply because of our age and him starting this career,” she said. “For us, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so we’re going to soak in every single minute.”