Kentucky Lake: Remitz rolls on

PARIS, Tenn. — After a stellar rookie season that included a victory on Lake Amistad, Derek Remitz seemed to lose his winning edge. For the last two seasons, he failed to qualify for the Classic and was not fishing with confidence.

This season, Remitz is fishing like a new man. Entering the Tennessee Triumph, he was third in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, behind only Edwin Evers and Skeet Reese. With 18 pounds, 11 ounces on Day One at Kentucky Lake, Remitz keeps putting the pressure on the leaders.

"It's kind of cool," Remitz said. "I've never really been in this position before. It feels great to be catching them, so I can't complain about anything."

Remitz insisted that he continues to fish the same way he has always fished, but a mental adjustment from the last few years has proven critical in the jump up the standings.

"Last year was a bad year and I got down on myself," Remitz said. "I would go in after a bad practice thinking I wasn't going to catch anything. This year, even after a bad practice, I can fish through it and figure something out."

Making that change has allowed Remitz to stack a few good finishes up and build his confidence going to the next event.

"That's the thing about confidence," Remitz said. "When you are fishing good, you catch a 5-pounder and that just builds on your confidence as opposed to when you aren't catching anything."

His main goal entering the season was to get back to the Classic after missing out twice. Now, sitting third in the points, his race to the postseason continues at Kentucky Lake.

"I really had a bad practice here," Remitz said. "It seems like there are about two hours in practice that I base the tournament on. It's kind of nerve-racking when you aren't sure what's going to happen. The schools here are so hard to come by this year that nobody knew what was going to happen."

Fortunately for Remitz, a few of his key areas had better fish on them and he ended Day One in 22nd place.

"The fishing is off this year because we have had so many big tournaments in a row and these fish are feeling the pressure," Remitz said. "The loss of the grass also hurt. These lakes go through cycles and last year was really the peak of the fishing out here."

Even with the tougher conditions, Remitz will close the gap on Reese, who finished the day in 48th place with 14 pounds, 3 ounces. Evers ended the day highest of the three anglers, in 13th with 19 pounds, 14 ounces.