My largest tournament-weighed spotted bass (3.93lbs)
October 5, 2012 on Smith Lake, Alabama
While I was not new to fishing Bassmaster-sponsored tournament trails, I was new to the Bassmaster Southern Open trail in 2012, a trail which offered a level of competitive fishing like no other. My final outcome was a 79th place finish in Angler of the Year points (top 32% of the field) and a decent year on the trail.
In my first year on the tour we traveled from Florida, to North Carolina, to Alabama. The types of lakes we fished ranged from southern grass lakes to upland reservoirs dominated by rocks and docks. I traveled over 5,000 miles and provided my sponsors over one half-million impressions of their boat-wrap logos. In addition, I was able to catch a limit a bass in all but one day of fishing, which allowed me to walk across the stage and be interviewed live on Bassmaster.com website. This brought another estimated quarter-million impressions to my sponsors. Lastly, I was honored to be a guest speaker for AERF at the Bassmaster Federation Nation Conservation Directors meeting at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport, LA.
Aquatic plant dominated lakes in the south
Rock dominated lakes in upland reservoirs
While I felt great about the ability to represent my sponsors, I did miss out on several key opportunities to finish better in the tournaments. Reflecting back, I can list specific bass I missed because I made incorrect retrieve changes as they followed my baits, changes that caused them to shy away instead of hitting. In golf every putt counts, and similarly in fishing, every retrieve, twitch, or turn of the reel handle causes different reactions to the bait and determines whether or not a following-fish will hit. The details of fishing are amazing and so important to the outcome.