Jones hears Classic 'voice of truth' in 2008

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Texas Elite Series pro Alton Jones' theme song features the lyrics "The waves, they keep on telling me, time and time again 'Boy, you'll never win, you'll never win'."

But the song goes on to say "But the voice of truth tells me a different story."

Fortunately for Jones, a five-time winner on the BASS circuit, he has listened to the latter voice during the majority of his career, rather than the former.

By so doing, the results have been nothing short of fantastic — especially this year — as he has won the Bassmaster Classic before garnering four final 12-cut appearances.

And that includes his final round appearance today at the Champion's Choice presented by Ramada Worldwide as Jones seeks to cap his stellar year with his first Elite Series triumph.

How has the likable Texan done so well after his win this year, when other Classic champs have faltered after their respective triumphs from the demands, opportunities and pressures being bass fishing's king for a year brings to the table?

"I think for me, one of the things that has helped is setting very small, definable goals, like I did at the Classic," said the BASS millionaire, counting more than $1.6 million in career earnings.

"What I've done all season is concentrate not on catching a limit of fish, but what do I need to do to catch the next quality fish."

In his mind, outlining these smaller attainable goals ultimately becomes the way to achieve larger goals, like winning the Classic or the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

After a season sitting on the Classic throne, does Jones think that winning fishing's Super Bowl event really changes an angler's life?

He admits he has a new appreciation now for just how important winning the event can be to an angler's career, but he's also cognizant of plenty of things that don't come with a Classic trophy.

"There's a lot of things about winning the Classic that absolutely does change your life," Jones said. "But there's other things about your life that don't change a bit."

Jones said that some of the obvious changes include financial gain; sponsorship security; increased status and peer recognition within the fishing industry; new opportunities that come the way of a Classic champ; and the number of lives a champ gets to interact with and be a positive influence upon.

"But it doesn't change your family and the needs that your family has," Jones said.

"Jimmye Sue doesn't need me to be a Classic champion, she needs me to be a husband.

"And my kids don't need me to be a Classic champion, they need me to be daddy."

To help keep Jones anchored amidst the whirlwind of the last six months, he points to his faith as the bedrock.

"I think that an important thing for me has been having my foundation of faith in Christ to rely on," he said. "That kind of keeps you stable during the good times and the bad times."

As good as life has been for Jones as a Classic champ this year, he is prepared for times in the future when things aren't so rosy.

"So I think that it's important that fishing not be the foundation of your life, because if it (is), then those bad years will really devastate you and the good years will inflate you unnecessarily."

That said, Jones has no plans to give up his Classic bass fishing throne easily.

In fact, while he is totally dedicated to the task of winning today's Champion's Choice Elite Series event, he is already thinking ahead to the off-season —specifically to defending his Classic crown next February on the Red River, making his bid to join Rick Clunn on the exclusive back-to-back Classic winner's list.

"I've really been enjoying my year as Classic champion," Jones said.

"It would be really cool to get an opportunity to do this again some time in my life and I'm not looking forward to it (his 2008 Classic reign) being over.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to make it go on."

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