Tracy Adams beats the odds

Tracy Adams knows some impressive math: Compete in 12 Bassmaster events, get into the Bassmaster Classic two times. That’s one Classic berth for every six tournaments.

Sure, two isn’t Kevin VanDam’s 22 consecutive appearances in the world championship, nor Rick Clunn’s 32 total — but still very, very good for Adams.

Adams earned his second Classic berth April 7 by winning the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Norman. Part of the Open winner’s prize package is an instant-in for the upcoming Classic — provided the winner competes in all three of the division’s events.

So Adams has hold of only a corner of a ticket to the 2013 Classic. He will need to fish out the Southern Open season, which concludes Oct. 6 on Alabama’s Smith Lake. Not much would keep him away from Smith Lake, he said Monday, still elated about his victory.

If he has a secret Classic-qualifying weapon, he wasn’t ready to reveal it. He does recognize that he beat the odds: “Pretty awesome, isn’t it? I don’t know how I did it, but I did it.”

Getting into the Classic guarantees nothing, as he found out as a competitor in 2011 on the Louisiana Delta. He finished 49th of 50 anglers.

“I’m looking for a little redemption on that,” he said.

He doesn’t mind holding on until October to secure his second chance. “I’m going to do the Northern Opens between now and then, and some local stuff, so I’ll have plenty to do,” he said.

From Wilkesboro, N.C., Adams had a home water advantage last week on Lake Norman. And he had momentum. The week before the Central Open, he won a one-day derby on Norman in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers.

Familiarity with Lake Norman helped him take his second Classic seat. His first Classic entry, back when the berths were awarded by points, he earned his spot in the Northern division’s stops on Lake Champlain, Detroit River and Chesapeake Bay. He did well in all three: third, 33rd and sixth, respectively. Under the points system of 2010, the top two anglers at the end of the Open season earned Classic spots, and he was No. 2.

“It was such a blast, that first Classic,” Adams said. “I’ve fished several FLW Championships, and they were good too, don’t get me wrong, but the Classic’s different, it’s just different. I’m really looking forward to it.”

When he isn’t competing, Adams, 38, works with his father in a tackle and grocery store. It’s what he went back to when he qualified in 2010 for the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series, along with the 2011 Classic. Now, if he can qualify a second time, he said he will again consider moving up to the Elite level.

Elite spots are awarded on the points system. A slow start (95th) in Florida pushed Adams to the bottom of the list, but his April 7 win leveled him out to 29th place in points. He would need another strong finish on Smith Lake to land another invite.