This week I’m here at Many, Louisiana, for the Bassmaster Elite presented by Econo Lodge Updates. Practice has already started on Toledo Bend Reservoir, and the real fishing begins on Thursday, April 6. Everything’s going well so far, and I’m looking forward to the competition. But I can’t help thinking about last week and the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, too.
It’ll take a while for me to get over it, because I feel like I let the Championship slip through my fingers. I had a great, great first 2 days, then struggled on the last day. Meanwhile, new Classic Champion Jordan Lee’s first day was a little tough, but he came back strong on the final 2 days – and weighed in 27-plus pounds on Sunday! My hat’s off to him.
The bass I caught the first 2 days came quickly, but on the third day they’d only bump my spinnerbait – just wouldn’t take it. I tried slowing down, making adjustments to the lure, swimming a jig, and I had a lot of fish on – for a split second.
Going into the final day, I figured I’d have to weigh in 20-22 pounds to pull out a win, and even when those first fish didn’t cooperate, I thought I was alright because I knew where to go to sight-fish some big bass I’d found. There was one female that weighed every bit of 7 pounds, but she’d just pick up the end of the bait – behind the hook every time. Pretty soon time was getting short, and I knew there wasn’t enough of it left to get the 20-plus pounds I needed this way, so I moved to offshore structure. In the end, I brought only two fish to the weigh-in that last day.
Yes, it’ll be tough to get over, but I’m just thankful that I was able to compete in the most prestigious fishing tournament in the world one more time. Houston is a great city, and the weigh-ins at Minute Maid Park were really cool. I got some neat photos in the dugout, and where the ballplayers come out of the locker room. It was just – cool.
Congratulations to Jordan Lee, who at 25 years old, accomplished the biggest achievement in our industry. I’m super excited for him; he’s got a really neat road ahead of him, and I wish him the best.
Looking forward to the next several days, I’m thrilled to be fishing Toledo Bend. I mean, who wouldn’t want to launch a boat on a 181,000-acre lake that’s full of bass from one end to the other?!
I spent a lot of winters here when I was younger and living in a camper, so I could fish all the time. Though it can be challenging at times, I love the sheer size of this lake because it means you can find fish and still be away from a lot of people. It’s going to be a fun tournament!