Tracy Adams' path to the Elites

Lake Seminole is a special place for Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Tracy Adams.

The Wilkesboro, N.C., angler recalls that one of the first tournaments he fished on the FLW Tour was on Lake Seminole in 1996, and now his first Elite Series event is on Lake Seminole. He finished fifth in that FLW event and improved in the next tournament with a second-place performance at Kentucky Lake.

The 40-year-old Adams is unable to recall the first tournament he ever fished, but he does remember fishing jackpot tournaments close to home with his dad, David Adams, when he was 11 or 12 years old.

“We did pretty well on the team trail stuff,” said Adams. The father-and-son team competed in several circuits until Tracy was about 25 years old.

The next step for Adams was to fish a national circuit, and he chose the FLW Tour. “I wanted to start testing the waters,” said Adams, who opted to fish on the professional side rather than as a co-angler. He competed in three tournaments in 1996 with his first event at Lake Santee Cooper where he placed 42nd, followed by the events at Lake Seminole and Kentucky Lake.

Adams fished the full FLW Tour schedule from 1997 to 2009 and also competed in Red Man or Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournaments from 1997 to 2010. His FLW highlights include a victory at Lake Champlain in 2006 and a third-place finish in the point standings in 2000. While fishing the FLW Tour, Adams also competed for four years in Jerry Rhyne’s The Fisherman’s Bass Circuit.

In 2010, Adams decided to fish the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens and finished third in his first event at Lake Champlain. Finishing 33rd in the next Northern Open and sixth in the final event at Chesapeake Bay qualified Adams for the Elite Series, but he declined the invitation because he felt he wasn’t ready for that step.

“I had just finished doing FLW for all those years, and I didn’t know if I wanted to go on the road again,” Adams said. “When I turned it down, I was sick. It took a little longer than I wanted to requalify.”

The North Carolina pro spent the next three years competing in Northern and Southern Opens and also fished in the 2011 and 2013 Bassmaster Classics. His Open accomplishments include winning the 2012 Southern Open at Lake Norman, a second-place finish in the 2012 Northern Open on Oneida Lake and third-place at lakes Champlain and Norman. Adams qualified again for the Elites by finishing fifth in the 2013 Northern Open point standings and this time accepted the invitation.

Throughout his career Adams has experienced highs and lows in his quest for an Elite Series berth.

"I've been doing this for a long time,” he said. “You have a good tournament and you're going to have some bad ones and that's just the way it is. There's no substitute for time on the water, that’s for sure. If you're out there doing poorly, that's better than not being out there at all.”

Now Adams has a chance to spend time on the water as one of bass fishing’s Elite.

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