My first year on the Bassmaster Open Eastern and Central tournament series is coming to an end. It was gut wrenching for me trying to decide whether to compete in the final two Open tournaments, the Eastern Open at Lay Lake in Alabama and the Central Open at Lewisville Lake in Texas, or to focus on my guide service for duck hunting on nearby bottom lands in Northwest Tennessee.
My decision, after a lot of thought and soul searching, is to focus on my duck hunting guide service as I have already had requests from duck hunting customers that will keep my busy through Christmas and the New Year. I can also use any downtime to work on current and new sponsorship support for the 2021 bass fishing season.
My most important priorities are taking care of my wife, Morgan, being able to pay our bills and saving entry fee and tournament expense funds for next year’s Bassmaster Opens. I could fish the last two events for 2020 but winning or even earning a paycheck is a tough accomplishment. Working the duck blinds may not be as much fun as bass fishing, but it sure is exciting, and this area in the northwest corner of Tennessee is just a beautiful place to be during duck hunting season.
I was sitting in 16th place for the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year title, and I just didn’t see how I could jump into at least fourth place to earn a coveted spot on the Bassmaster Elite Series for 2021. I’m very proud of my first season as a professional bass fisherman. I fished lakes where I had no prior experience and fished against fields of 200-plus professional anglers, many of whom have a lot of experience on the tournament lakes.
Being a professional angler is like being on a constant roller coaster ride, you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But when the ride is over, you feel ready to hop back on the ride again. The experience from each tournament provides a great depth of knowledge on how to fish different conditions and an opportunity to not only compete against some of the world’s best anglers, but to learn from them as well.
It is a humbling profession, and it will certainly test your resolve and your outlook on the sacrifices required to succeed as a profession angler. But what a way to make a living.
Special thanks to all of my sponsors for 2020, including Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Strike King Lure Company, Lew’s Fishing, Seaguar, Power-Pole, Carhartt, Owner Hooks, Gator Guards, Hypertech Vehicular Performance, Union City Marine, Williams Sausage, Final Flight Outfitters and Reelfoot Family Walk-in Clinics. We do not walk alone in our life journey.