LeHew: Grandma knows best

Grandmas are the best, are they not?

There’s something special about their homemade cookies, country-style meals and unwavering support that is simply irreplaceable.

Few would argue.

Bassmaster Elite Series newcomer Shane Lehew appreciates his greatest fan, and he’s not afraid to admit it.

“My grandmother is just awesome. She watches every weigh-in and calculates my points as it takes place,” he said. “In fact, she sends me her calculations before B.A.S.S. even makes them official. It’s a level of support I don’t take for granted.”

However, just like many of the other anglers, the 30-year-old pro from North Carolina doesn’t allow his current standings in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race to dictate how he fishes each event.

In fact, if you poll every angler in the field about how and when the AOY points come into play, every one will likely say the same thing—it’s become become a cliché. And their stance makes sense.

“I do my best to control everything that I can control like boat and gear maintenance, bait selection, whatever,” he said. “But the fish don’t care if you’re coming for them, they don’t care when you’re there, they just do what fish do and I can’t let the uncontrollable factors affect my game. I’m pretty strict with myself on that point.”

When his grandmother sends him his updated points and AOY standings each day, he takes it with a grain of salt knowing an uncontrollable factor could change that very quickly.

At the time of this writing, LeHew was sitting in ninth place in AOY, well inside the Classic cut of 42nd place, and moving up thanks to a solid showing at St. Lawrence River after two days of official competition. At what point should an angler pay attention to AOY points? Even though nearly all of them will say the standings don’t impact how they’ll approach a certain tournament, there is a breaking point where emotions go one way or the other.

“To be perfectly honest I pay attention, but not to the point where it affects my day-to-day and hour-to-hour, on-the-water decisions,” he said. “I’ve done this long enough to know how important state-of-mind is, and I do my best to keep my head in the game at all times.

“Having said that, each day of each tournament dictates my level of satisfaction with my performance. For example, at St. Lawrence, if I catch 19 pounds, 12 ounces or better each day I’ll be satisfied. One ounce shy and I’ll be upset with myself. If I exceed that it makes me all the happier.

“I guess it’s me trying to control my emotions along with the other controllable factors,” he laughed. “The more grounded I stay, the better decisions I make, the more fish I catch.”

LeHew mentioned that the Elite events on Lakes Lanier and Guntersville hurt him some this year. If not for those two tournaments, he’d be in tighter contention for the coveted AOY title.