High hopes for Hightower

(Editors Note: During Day 2 of the 2019 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Lake Guntersville, we caught up with Dale Hightower and discussed his results so far this season and what he plans to do to right his ship during the second half of the 2019 Elite Series.)

“I don't’ think I had unrealistic expectations coming into the Elites, but I did have expectations. I knew fishing at this level was going to be the biggest challenge of my career,” Dale Hightower said. “But I haven’t been fishing to my abilities. Thankfully Guntersville has been treating me pretty well so far. I needed the boost — both for the points and for the mental relief.”

Hailing from Mannford, Okla., Hightower has completed five tournaments of his rookie season as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, and so far it’s not going as he had hoped.

He started his career this year at St. Johns River with a respectable 39th-place finish, 75th at Georgia’s Lake Lanier, 72nd at Hartwell, 31st at Winyah Bay and a 73rd-place finish at Lake Fork.

“It’s not an excuse, but there is a different kind of pressure fishing at this level,” he said. “I made choices on lure selection and targeted locations that I thought would produce the kind of fish required to stay competitive against this crew of anglers. But I kind of got away from what I was good at.”