Finishing one fish short from a Classic title doesn’t haunt Paul Mueller, and his weight record in the championship is far from the biggest thing in his life — God is.
In fact, his “Lord and savior” was the topic of discussion when lightning struck at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville. Mueller landed three big fish in a Day 2 flurry on his way to the single-day record of 32 pounds, 3 ounces. The B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier followed up with a stellar Sunday but ended up second, 1 pound behind winner Randy Howell.
“There’s certain days you try your best and nothing goes right,” Mueller said. “The deal with that day, I could do no wrong. It just happened. It was the best day of fishing I’ve ever had.
“The three biggest fish I caught that day came within an 8-minute span. The guy that I was fishing with, his BASSTrakk was messing up. ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I was like, ‘I don’t either. I’m going to fish.’”
Already with a decent limit, Mueller said he was relaxed as he and his Marshal were having a conversation about God.
“He was telling me he was a recovering alcoholic and that had he not turned to God, he would have … he probably would have been dead,” Mueller said. “I was telling him things that God has done in my life, then all of the sudden, 7-pounder, 8-pounder, 6-pounder. We’re looking at each other, ‘What just happened there?’ It was just one of those moments.
“There’s a lot of moments when you don’t feel that strong a presence of God when you’re fishing a tournament, but there are pivotal times in my career where that’s happened. That was one of those days.”