Alton Jones shares the lessons he has learned in 2020. Photo by Jesse Schultz

Overall, the 2020 MLF Bass Pro Tour season turned out pretty good for me. Of course, the pandemic issues interrupted what was an amazing start for the tour in general, but I’d say I’m happy with my performance, specifically the last stretch after the forced break.

I qualified for REDCREST and Heavy Hitters in 2021, and I made a couple of Top 10s (one at an FLW event, and the other on the Bass Pro Tour). I’m satisfied that I’m still competitive, but the break due to the pandemic allowed me some time to reflect and learn a little more about myself.

One of the things I’ll take forward from this season is my appreciation for being able to be a professional fisherman. When COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks, I had a change in my perspective. After 30 years of being a pro, I sat back and was reminded of how fortunate all of us who fish for a living are to be living in a country where we’re free to pursue something like fishing. I feel so lucky and blessed. I’m so excited to get started up again.

I truly hope I never take for granted what I do. When you do things for so long, I think it’s natural to assume that’s just the way things always will be. This year showed me how quickly it can go away. This year was a really good reset of my perspective of how the world works.

Another thing I’ll take forward from all of this is for me to be more proactive on things like politics. Make sure to vote for freedoms. I’m a Christian, but this year has really made me appreciate my faith in Christ. Everybody needs to go vote.

I think there are a lot of Americans that don’t take stock of the ramifications of policies. Citizens who can vote often do so on emotions. I encourage people to be vigilant and studious. When you vote, you should know why you’re voting for a particular politician or referendum. We all need to be educated about the facts.

Some New Perspectives (and Lure Changes)

Now, to go along with my appreciation of being a pro fisherman, this season relit a fire in me with a new perspective, and I’m working harder than ever before. I fished four events after the break: half were Top 10s, and every one was a check. I felt I fished very well and hopefully will take the momentum into REDCREST and the 2021 season.

The 2021 season will be different for me for sure. I’m taking a very different approach next year. First, I’ve decided to not pursue any lure sponsors. I want to be free to use whatever I want to use, and free to talk about whatever I want to talk about. If we’re trying to help consumers along, no one company is the best in all lures. One crankbait may be best on one lake, but not another.

When I came back after the COVID break, it was the first time I was independent of any one bait company.

Fans can know that when I talk about a lure, I’m not being paid to talk about it. This is no dig at bait-sponsored pros: I just want a clean slate and will use what I want to use. Hopefully, it’ll be fun for fans to get great information, and the ins and outs of why I’m using certain baits.

The MLF Bass Pro Tour events are by far the most difficult tournaments I’ve ever fished. It was fun fishing the FLW five-fish tournaments, but it made me realize how difficult MLF events truly are. I can’t wait to get started again.

In 2021, it’s back to basics and focus on the fundamentals. And whenever you hear me talk about the lures I’m using, you know it’ll be Alton unfiltered. I can’t wait.