There’s really no better feeling for me than when I got the news that I qualified for REDCREST in 2022 on Grand Lake. It was a long season for me and I’m so excited to be heading back to REDCREST after missing out on it in 2021. Especially since the last time I qualified for REDCREST, I came away with a third-place finish.
It’s the big dance and this is what we all fish for. To me, it’s now the biggest tournament in professional bass fishing, and you can’t win it if you aren’t in it.
I’m glad I got back to fishing the way I know I’m capable of in the 2021 season after a disappointing 2020 season. Look, let’s just face it, 2020 was a weird year for everyone and I think that had a lot to do with my poor performance. Sometimes it has a lot to do with the schedule we’re fishing as well. The 2020 schedule wasn’t very kind to me and I wasn’t able to fish my strengths as much as maybe I would have liked.
As I came into 2021, I knew that I was going to have to grab some Top-10 finishes, something I wasn’t able to do in 2020. I earned a Top 20 on Sam Rayburn during Stage One, and I really felt like that set the stage for me to have a much better year. I had a Top 10 that I really needed on the Harris Chain to make REDCREST for 2022.
Much like in all sports, momentum in fishing is a huge thing. If I can start out strong, that always sets me up better for later in the year, and that’s what I’ve always believed throughout my career. Luckily, because of those stronger events, I had earlier in the season they were able to make up for some of the missed cuts I had when we visited smallmouth fisheries later in the year.
I think I didn’t worry too much about what the rest of the field was going to do on a day-to-day basis during events, and that helped my psyche a lot. Because of that, I was able to get on some fish that maybe the rest of the field wasn’t fishing for or looking for. Some of my best finishes were when I was doing just that, not worrying about the other guys I was up against and instead just focusing on how I wanted to go catch them.
I’m now just counting down the months, weeks and days until I get to take on Grand Lake next February. I’ve had some great finishes there in the past and I really like the way that body of water fishes that time of the year. It has some giants in there and I know that we’re going to get them to bite. I feel like I have as good of a chance as any other angler to take home the win.
I’m going to be going up against a stacked field though, so of course, it can never be easy. I’m looking forward to the challenge and spending my offseason preparing.