Momentum is huge in any sport you compete in, or anything you do in life. Everybody has to put in the work to be successful. Some people work harder than others for sure, but that momentum when things go your way is huge. It’ll increase your confidence and give you something to build on.
I started the 2023 season off great with wins at Sam Rayburn and Clarks Hill, but had a terrible last day at the Lake Murray Bass Pro Tour event in April. I followed that up with a pretty bad Day 1 on the Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma Tackle Warehouse Invitational.
One thing I’ve learned since turning pro is to not let things spin you out. My first day at Eufaula wasn’t good as far as the Angler of the Year standings, but I didn’t really make bad decisions, just caught a bunch of little ones. I made a key adjustment on the second day, and moved up the standings. I realized I didn’t make any poor decisions, it just didn’t work out. Having that better second day gave me that momentum shift I needed heading into Heavy Hitters and beyond.
As far as Heavy Hitters, I think it should be a great event. I haven’t spent much time on Caney Creek, and no time at all on Bussey Brake. But for me, it’s a great adventure, not really knowing much about a fishery going into it. I like fishing that way. It’s exciting and keeps me wanting more, so I can’t wait to see who figures out the deal for the bigger bites.
I really enjoy the adventure aspect of learning about the fishery as I go. I really enjoy the competition and fishing against the best, but what I really love is as soon as my trolling motor hits the water, it’s just me against the elements and the fish. It’s all up to me to find them and develop a pattern to catch them. That’s what really fuels my fire.
I’d love to see us fish more places we don’t know a lot about – some bodies of water in Michigan or Wisconsin where our format would excel. Places we’ve never been.
But we do have an excellent schedule this season. I can’t wait for Cayuga Lake in New York in June, that place can be so good. If a guy doesn’t catch 20 pounds a day, he might not make the Knockout Round.
As many of you know, I was a professional rodeo bullfighter. I do miss that sport sometimes because I’m an adrenaline junkie, but I still get my fix, as fishing has its own thrills. At the Eufaula Invitationals, for example, I had to run through 6-footers to get to check-in. I looked over at Martin Villa, his boat was torn up, and I said “I love this stuff!” (sorry Martin).
Being on the water at sunrise, and making a living at this, I’m blessed. I want to be the best, and competing against the best drives me to push the limits. Guys like Wheeler, Kevin, Edwin, and Ott set the bar really high, and they really work hard. I learned from some of my peers to focus on winning and not just trying to get a check. By doing that, my fishing and career have changed for the better.
I’m not motivated by trophies or titles. Honestly, at the end of the day, I enjoy fishing and the outdoors. The harder I work at it, the longer I’ll be in this game and the more successful I’ll be in this business.
Of course, I’m driven by the financial side and being as authentic as possible representing my business partners.
I want this sport to prosper, grow and reach its maximum potential. I want to show businesses that it’s good to invest in bass fishing and the professional anglers. I want to inspire kids to fish for a living, and show them they’ll need to work hard to attain it – that they may not make it, but the hard work often opens doors elsewhere.
My goal is to be the best that I can be. Wherever that falls, I’ll be happy with it.