Well for me the 2011 season is about to get underway and I couldn’t be more excited. I will be traveling this week for the first BASS Elite tournament at the Harris Chain of lakes in central Florida. This is the first time I have competed in the Elite series, I qualified for them last year by finishing fifth in the points in the Northern division of the BASS opens. I fished the BASS top 150 trail from 2000 till 2006 but since then the format for BASS has changed, and because of this I will be considered a Rookie.
It seems strange that I will be starting over after having been fishing as a full time Pro for 12 years now, but change is good. The main reason I am excited about the change for me, is the BassMaster Classic. I have competed in 6 BassMaster Classics, and had my chance to win in New Orleans in 2001. That was the year Kevin VanDam won his first, I remember it too well. I was the last man to weigh in and came up ounces short of having a Classic victory.
Being that close can either make you or break you and I am determined to be back on that stage again and finish what I started. The BassMaster Classic is often compared to the super bowl of tournaments, and it really is If you like to fish for Bass you owe it to yourself to go to one and experience first hand how exciting it really is being there. I remember my first one, it was 1997 when Dion Hibdon won in Birmingham Alabama. I was a club tournament fisherman who went down there from Kentucky to help out a boat dealer friend of mine. I was running my first Ranger boat at the time and to see all of those BASS Master Classic editions going around that arena and the crowds that were there cheering on their favorites, I was totally hooked. It took me three years, but I was running my very own BassMaster Classic Ranger at the 2000 Classic in Chicago. I have been with Ranger and Evinrude for 15 years now and I have ran the latest models, starting with my first boat a 481vs with a 150 Evinrude fast strike till now.
Next week I will be pulling my Ranger Z520 with the Evinrude E-Tec 250 down to the first Bassmaster event trying to qualify for the next Classic being considered a Rookie, again. This season is a change for me but chasing the dream is still there and I hope that never changes.