With some redemption on his season, Lee Livesay is shooting to settle a couple more scores.
Mired in a trying second year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Livesay washed away that awful taste with his victory Oct. 19 in the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake. It was not complete redemption, he said, from a year in which he won’t qualify for the Bassmaster Classic via the Angler of the Year point standings, but:
“It didn’t hurt, that’s for damn sure,” he said. “I knew I was out of the points. Everybody can sit there and be cliché all they want, but I wasn’t swinging for the fences. I did what I like to do. I like to frog and catch big ones on big braid.
“Everybody just kept saying how bad (Chickamauga) was. When I saw the grass and how good and green it was on the mats, I knew they were in there somewhere. It just took me until the second day to figure out how good it really was.”
After that morning of catching an early limit and being able to search for more fish, Livesay decided he had to keep the frog in his hands. When he weighed in his second bag over 13 pounds, he said he got that winning feeling anglers often experience.
“I felt it for the first time ever,” Livesay said. “I’ve been in the Top 10 six times in the last year, from Classics to Opens to Elites, and never felt like I was going to win. I felt like I had to do something special or somebody had to trip up.
“I don’t know what it was, but after the second day weigh-in, I felt, ‘Ok, I got a shot.’ It was just coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t even stop it. I was just telling people, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever felt it, first time I’ve felt it.’ And sure enough, I was just so confident the rest of the time, and it worked out.”
Despite plenty of fish missing his frog in their reactionary bites through the mats, Livesay was encouraged because that made him realize there were bass there. He knew he’d eventually hook up. As one of only two anglers to catch five-fish limits each day, he took the lead after Day 3 with 16-13.