Schultz sitting comfortably

STURGEON BAY, Wis. -- Bernie Schultz is no spring chicken when it comes to fishing big-time bass tournaments, in fact he is one of the most consistent northern smallmouth bass anglers on tour right now.

And he's from Florida.

The pro finished ninth the last time the Elite Series visited Green Bay in 2012. He finished 15th during 2015 Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, and a 27th-place finish at the Plano Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair.

He knows how to catch big smallmouth bass out of these waters.

Schultz has had a tremendous year and is comfortably in contention for the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Classic by holding down eighth with 526 points -- it's safe to say he will be fishing in March.

"Look, I go into every tournament hoping to win, and as we all know it seldom goes that way," he said. "I'll be honest, practice has been tough and I'm hoping I can find a good limit each day. I know the fish are here, but the weather is definitely playing a major role. Regardless, I'm thankful for the year I've had and I'm excited to get this one under way."

Schultz says that the biggest fish don't seem to be in Sturgeon Bay proper at this point, but the strong southerly winds that are forecasted for the first day of the event will restrict how far into Green Bay the anglers will be able to fish.

"Knowing that I'm safely inside the Classic cutoff is a load off my shoulders, but I still don't like losing," he said.

"I'm going to fish hard and stay positive. Rest assured, this tournament is going to get interesting."