Refocusing on the Elites

Now that the Bassmaster Classic is behind us, I’m turning all my focus to the Bassmaster Elite Series. In order to do that, I’ve had to really take a step back and evaluate the rest of the year.

I want to have a good season and have another chance to get back to the Classic. I’ve had one OK tournament and one not-so-great tournament, so I have to stay on track the rest of the year.

I feel good physically and mentally; I’m just missing a little bit.

What I’m going to do is focus on preparing more intensely. One of the downfalls of fishing as long as I have is the tendency to settle into a pattern of doing things the way you always did them. But I have to press a little harder; I have to do some more homework to map some things out a little better.

Even though we have two South Carolina events back-to-back, I’m taking the next tournament on Lake Murray as one tournament. As I get completed with my preparation for this event, I’ll start preparing a little for the second tournament on Santee-Cooper.

I’m just trying to take it one tournament at a time the rest of the season and really evaluate the patterns and options and areas of the lake. All the things that you need to do to develop a solid game plan.

That’s what I had to do when I was young and first started out fishing. I had to teach myself; I had to learn what to do. I wouldn’t say that I’ve become complacent, but I see the value in returning to the discipline of my early years.

The key to the whole thing is to have fun out there, have a lot of confidence and visualize the next tournament.

I think at Murray we’re going to be right in the middle of the spawn/postspawn for bass and a prespawn/spawn for blueback herring. We’re gonna hit it right down the middle, so I think there will be a lot of options.

As good as that sounds, it can be challenging, because you don’t know if you should go all-in on the herring. It’s also easy to go all-in on sight fishing, and it’s easy to go all-in on the postspawn bite. But which one is going to win? Which one is going to produce for four days?

These are the types of things you have to evaluate. I’ll have my work cut out for me because I think there’s going to be a little bit of everything going on when we get there.

At Santee-Cooper, I think it’ll be spawn, postspawn and the shad spawn. If we were taking off earlier, I think the shad spawn could be a big player, but it’s over pretty quickly, unless it’s a little cloudy or a little breezy.

Overall, I’m looking forward to these next two Elite events. This is a fun time of the year, and anytime we fish really good lakes like Murray and Santee-Cooper right in the prime time, it puts extra pep in your step.

It gets me excited, it gets the fans excited and it gets the internet chattering about what the weights are going to be. I honestly think you can catch 100 pounds in both of these next two tournaments.

When it comes to managing this excitement and performing, it’s just staying the course. You have to take it one tournament at a time, one practice day at a time and one tournament day at a time.

You don’t want to spin yourself out on a tough day of practice, and you don’t want to spin yourself out when you have a miraculous day of practice. You just stay the course, let the dust settle and hope the results are there.