Bernie Schultz and Rick Clunn — two anglers with a combined age of 142 years and the two elder statesmen on the Elite Series — finished 21st and 22nd. Bernie moans about how hard it is to keep weight off at his age (67) and Rick (75) spouts profundities about his body being out of sync with his mind. But don’t buy any of it. They’ve both still got plenty of game.
You didn’t really think Michael Iaconelli would struggle all season did you? After finishing a next-to-last 93rd place in the season opener at St. Johns, Ike shaved that awful hybrid Fu Manchu/Duck Dynasty getup off his face and rebounded with a respectable 35th-place finish. He won’t be fishing next week’s Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on Lake Hartwell, but Ike fans will still get their fix as he takes part in the B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series National Championship on Richard B. Russell Lake prior to the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing. Seriously, how cool is it that he’s fishing the Kayak Classic?
If you haven’t watched the video clip of Clifford Pirch landing his monster 9-pound, 13-ounce largemouth on Day 3, go back and study it frame by frame. You shouldn’t watch it necessarily to learn landing technique, though he did his usual fantastic job with that. Watch Clifford’s body language. From seemingly not knowing where to step on his way from the bow to the passenger’s seat to fiddling with rods on the deck that weren’t really in the way, it’s easy to tell that big fish got his adrenaline pumping. Seeing a guy who’s been there and done that still get a little out of sorts reminds me of why the sport is so special.
When 22-year-old Jay Przekurat arrived on the Elite Series, I remember thinking it would take me a year to learn how to say his name, but he’s making us all learn it sooner. After a 33rd-place finish at the St. Johns River, the young Wisconsin pro, who was born nine years past my high school graduation date, just missed the Top 10 at Harris Chain, finishing 14th. That gives him the lead in the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Rookie of the Year standings — and for the record, it’s pronounced SHU-KRAT.
With the 2022 Elite Series Florida swing in the rearview mirror, John Cox must be thinking, “That’s more like it.” When the talented Florida pro joined the Elite Series in 2020, many expected him to immediately dominate the Florida events. But his first two stops in his home state — the 2020 and 2021 Elite Series events at the St. Johns River — produced just 33rd- and 37th-place finishes, respectively. That’s not bad, necessarily. But he must be feeling a lot better after recording a fourth-place finish at St. Johns earlier this year and then a seventh-place showing at Harris Chain.
Life’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows, so click this link for 5 thoughts of doom and gloom from Harris Chain.