You often hear about big moments finally sinking in. Well, Wednesday brought two clarifying moments for me. One was putting my Bassmaster Elite Series sticker on my boat. The other was when I looked at my jersey and it had the Elite Series logo on the back.
That was really cool. Realizing that the goal I’ve worked so hard to achieve is finally here fills me with motivation, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the St. Johns River will deliver.
With the warming trend that arrived midweek, I think this system is gonna go off. We could see some really great catches, but I think it’s going to be a little more complicated than people realize.
The reason I say that is because this is such a long fishery with many different sections that will react to the spawn and the weather at different times. To do well on the St. Johns, you have to know what cycle your area is in.
For example, the water’s a little cooler around Palatka, so the fish may be a day behind. The fish down south may be right on time or even a day ahead, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. So there are some variables in a fishery with a sliding scale of water temperature.
It’s going to be interesting to see what transpired during our off day. We finished practice on Tuesday, but I think a lot changed on Wednesday. In the spring, these fish make a lot of moves during a warm day.
Fish are going to leave some areas, and fish are going to show up in some areas. Guys are going to catch them, but it’s going to be a lot of “I didn’t know the fish were there; I only got a few bites in that area during practice.” All of a sudden they’re catching 25 pounds.
For me, practice wasn’t as good as I was hoping. I don’t feel like I have a couple of areas that I can stretch for four days, so I have to expand my water throughout the day.
I have some other areas, so I’m going to try and save my main stuff until I really need it. I’ll fish my main stuff a little the first two days, but I don’t have enough fish to hammer down hard on one area. So, I have to stretch it.
But with the nice weather we’re having, the fishing is going to be pretty active. You could find a couple of new places just in a matter of a few minutes.
I’m really excited to start this first event of my Elite Series debut. Seeing a lot of old friends I’ve known for many years and hearing a lot of the Elites congratulate me for being here, I feel like I’m at home.
In addition to this professional camaraderie, family support is huge. My dad’s been really excited. He’s been calling me a lot; wishing me luck and encouraging me. He wants me to do well, and that’s been neat.
At the end of the day, I’m out here for my family. My dad’s a big part of why I’m out here.
I can’t say for certain what the first day of my first Elite season will bring, but I know how it will start — with gratitude. I’m just going to give thanks to the Lord. It’s been a blessing.
Getting here was not easy, but it worked out. I’m just thankful.