TULSA, Okla. — Pete Gluszek knows all about fishing in the cold. The Dean of Bass University lives in New Jersey, so when the weather got cooler and snow started to fall on Grand Lake leading up to the 43rd Bassmaster Classic, he felt right at home.
“When you live in New Jersey and like to fish,” the three-time Classic qualifier said, “you want winter to be over way before it’s ready and you wind up fishing on some cold and even snowy days.”
Cabin fever does that to anglers, even — or maybe especially — the very best competitive anglers, like Gluszek and his business partner in Bass University, 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion Michael Iaconelli.
“Eventually, if you’re a tournament fisherman, you learn to use weather to your advantage, like Sun Tzu (the Chinese military strategist and tactician) recommends in The Art of War. If you can use the weather to defeat your opponents, then you’re ahead of the game.”
Tournament veterans often favor the tough events because they know many anglers will give up emotionally before they even launch their boats. Gluszek is quick to point out that it’s not true of the Classic field.
“These guys are not those guys,” he explains. “The Classic anglers fought hard to get here and didn’t make it by giving up … ever. Besides, with the weather we’re facing, most of the catching is likely to happen late in the day, just before we put out boats on the trailers and head for the weigh-in.”
Nevertheless, Gluszek expects mental toughness to pay a leading role in this Classic.
“Anything you can do or catch early in the day to put you ahead of the rest of the field, is going to be important. An early fish might be what you have to have to separate you from the rest of the guys. I’ll be working hard and focusing to the best of my ability to take advantage of any opportunities I have that come in those first few hours.
“And as for the weather, I know I can’t afford to feel cold or uncomfortable or let that aspect of the competition undercut my efforts.”
That kind of positive thinking and determination can only be called “a New Jersey state of mind.”