This week I’m competing in my first-ever MLF Cup event and I couldn’t be more excited. However, with that excitement comes a lot of nervousness because this has been the toughest tournament to prepare for in my career. Not knowing where we’re going or what bodies of water we’ll be fishing has me playing a guessing game in my head.
I usually spend about two hours the day before a normal tournament getting all of my rods and tackle ready for the next day. Before I came up to Wisconsin, I spent 10 hours in my shop back home in South Carolina just trying to prepare for any possible scenario that I might run into.
Seeing as we’re up north this week, I don’t know if I should be prepared to fish out deep with 6-pound line and a spinning rod, or if I’m going to be throwing a frog up shallow. Usually, I can do some research before we head out to a specific place and kind of get an idea of what I need to pack.
That’s not the case for this 2021 Challenge Cup. I’ve never rigged up so many rods for just one tournament in my life.
Another thing I need to get used to is not having practice. During practice, I can usually dial in rods and reels pretty good. Practice is when I fix any issues I have with my equipment, so that come gameday, I can be ready to perform my best.
Without practice, I have to spend extra time on my equipment at home, so I don’t run into any issues while I’m out there trying to chase down the competition.
I feel like I’m a kid again and this is my first time ever going fishing.
When I first signed up for Major League Fishing, this is the kind of stuff I couldn’t wait to try. These Cup events are so fun to me because you’re fishing on pure instinct. All of these years, I always think I “won practice.” I feel like I always had the fish figured out during practice and then come tournament day I struggle.
Well, let’s just see if I really “won practice” all of those times I thought I did.
I promise you I’m the most excited of these 30 anglers here this week. What makes this event even more cool, is that these 30 guys are the 30 guys who are performing at the top of their game right now. To qualify for this Cup, you had to be in the Top 30 in points after Stages One and Two of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour. That means I’m going up against guys like Jacob Wheeler, Jacob Powroznik, Kevin VanDam and Jordan Lee.
These 30 guys are the best in the world right now, and fishing their very best right now. I’m really going to have my work cut out for me if I want to move on against a stacked field like this. Still, these are the moments you dream of as a kid.
Getting to go to battle with the best in the world in your sport. I can’t wait to get started and I can’t wait for you guys to see it.