A late-season charge helped Cody Meyer qualify for the first-ever REDCREST. Photo by Josh Gassmann

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

That was MLF pro Cody Meyer’s reaction when I told him that he qualified for REDCREST after Stage Eight. To be honest, the text on your screen doesn’t do it justice. The sound on the other end of the line sounded more like a 5-year-old kid finding out he was getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World.

Meyer squeaked into the final Top 30 in 29th place and will be fishing in REDCREST come August 21-25. Meyer’s excitement was well-deserved, because four months ago a REDCREST berth seemed like a pipe dream.

Slow Start to the Season

The Daiwa pro didn’t help himself out to start the season, missing three straight Knockout Rounds and finishing no higher than 47th place in the first three Bass Pro Tour events. Even though he came into the season with MLF experience – having competed in the MLF Selects – he struggled to crack the top 40.

“The first three events I just didn’t catch enough fish,” Meyer said plainly. “I was really down on myself and I thought that there was no way I was going to be able to make REDCREST. To go on a run and now be in REDCREST is just an amazing feeling. I’m stoked to even have a shot at a championship.”

Table Rock Magic

That run Meyer alluded to began in Stage Four with a 38th-place finish on Lake Chickamauga. He then rattled off a 31st and 21st-place finish in the following two events. He was making Knockout Rounds, but he had yet to find himself crack into a Top 10.

That all changed thanks to a magical hour on Table Rock Lake in Stage Seven.

Meyer advanced to the Knockout Round once again, but found himself more than 22 pounds below the Elimination Line with only one hour to go. With his REDCREST qualification hopes hinging on a Top-10 finish, Meyer needed to make not only a move, but a big move.

“Without that last hour (at Table Rock), you’re not talking to me right now,” Meyer admitted. “I’m at home playing with my kids and my season is over. I told myself that it was time for a Hail Mary, so I moved to go find a magic spot.”

There were only 55 minutes remaining when Meyer threw a Strike King Sexy Dawg on a point, looking for a miracle. It all started with a 1-pound, 13-ounce smallmouth on his first cast. It ended after 24 more bass for a total of 38-13.

“I caught one every single cast for the last hour,” Meyer said, still with a giggle of disbelief over a month later. “It was the coolest hour of my entire fishing career, and if I were to win REDCREST, I’ll look back and know that special hour was the reason why.”

Searching for Win No. 1

Meyer now looks ahead towards REDCREST, searching for the first signature win of his career. He has been the model of consistency during his 11-year career, competing in 10 straight Forest Wood Cups and compiling 28 Top 10 finishes. Meyer has always known how to balance fishing for consistency and fishing for a win.

Come August 21 on the Upper Mississippi River, he’ll be fishing for a win.

“There’s a fine line between going for it all and being consistent,” Meyer explained. “I’ve always tried to be consistent so I can stay in this game as long as I can. Now when I look at REDCREST, I’ve never fished a tournament of this magnitude with 29 other guys. If there’s an event to win, it’s this one. Yes, these are 29 of the best anglers in the world, but it’s still a good shot for anyone.”

Meyer and the rest of the 29 anglers in the REDCREST field will hit La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 21.