As you might expect I’ve been thinking a lot about the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk and what it would take to win it. Actually that’s all I’ve been thinking about lately. What I’ve discovered over the years is Classics have been won by anglers fishing their strengths. You really can’t go against them and expect to prevail.
There’s a risk in that, of course. The only way that’ll work is for everything to come together. Conditions have to be right. Everything from water temperature and clarity to the longterm weather has to be just right. And you have to be fortunate enough not to have mechanical or electrical problems.
Still, that’s the only way you’ll ever win one. Risk aside, the Classic is a tournament that you either win or you lose. It’s not about points, and really, it’s not about a check. It’s about the prestige of being a Bassmaster Classic champion. If you’re not that guy it’ll be disappointing, but not as disappointing as not going for broke. That would be a horrible way to look back at a Classic.
That’s why I’m so excited about what I believe is going to happen on Lake Hartwell. My strength is to throw big baits in relatively clear water and hope for a half-dozen big bites a day.
Early practice set up that way, and according to the weather reports it’s only going to get better through competition. Things change. I’ve been fishing long enough to know that. Nevertheless, it’s looking good.
One thing I did do was go back and look at past Classics on Lake Hartwell to see what other guys did when they won it. That was interesting, but I don’t believe that it gave me any useful information. Most of the guys were in heavy clothes and wearing beanies. And they were fishing slow and deep. That won’t be the case later this week, or at least I don’t think so.
All of what I’ve said is why I’m really excited about this one. I honestly think this will be my best shot out of all the other Classics I’ve fished.
You’ll note that I didn’t say that it would be my best shot at a win. I avoided the “win” word because I don’t think anyone can predict such a thing. Too many things have to come together and nothing much can go wrong for that to happen. But I honestly believe that this could be my best finish — hopefully I’ll be a winner but I’ll not predict that — in all of my career. My best to date is 12th at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River.
I’ve thought about the ancient Latin proverb that says, “Fortune favors the brave.” I’ve decided to go for it, to be brave. My plan is to fish my strength every single day no matter how many fish I have in my livewell, or how many I don’t have. I’m at a stage in my career where I’m tough enough mentally to do that, and I’m willing to take the risk.