Pro Tournament History
Career B.A.S.S. wins: 4
Career FLW wins: 10
Bassmaster Classic appearances: 2
Forrest Wood Cup appearances: 6
What got you into tournament fishing in the first place?
The competitive drive. I played sports throughout school and the combination of competitive drive and family, my dad, uncles, my mom, everybody fished. I think once my athletic days were over I had to keep that competitive edge. I coached for 8 or 9 years, but then I wanted it to be more about me and not about my coaching that’s where fishing came in. I’ve been doing it forever, and I quit my job [to pursue it].
How old were you when you quit your job and went all in?That was in 2008, this is my 8th year, so 33.
What’s your best, most memorable tournament catch?
I have so many of them. I’d have to say the first day of my first Classic, I caught like 19 pounds. I had 70-100 spectator boats. That was pretty cool to have 150-200 people screaming for you, live.
Name three lures that you’re most confident and rely on.
Number 1 would be a 1/2-ounce Booyah Jig black and blue. Second one would be a Smithwick Rogue, third would be a Heddon One Knocker Spook.
Any other species of fish you like to go after or are you just a bass guy?
I used to like to fish for crappie in the winter time, that’s how I used to work all my skills with the electronics system. But this is the third consecutive Classic I’ve been in and I just feel like in the winter time, if I’m doing anything other than bass fishing I’m hurting myself. The last few years all I’ve been doing is just fish for bass.
What’s your proudest career moment?
I get asked that a lot and I think my answer is different than everyone else. My moment is that I get to make a living doing what I love to do. I get to go fishing everyday to make a living. How I grew up, and learned how to grow up, I just think that’s cool.
What makes the Bassmaster Classic so special?
I think it’s the prestige that comes with it, it’s the biggest tournament. Every tournament that we fish is a big tournament, it’s televised on ESPN, but the Classic is just the biggest. Of course it’s a good payday, but the thing about it is it’s sort of like the championship, it’s the Super Bowl, it’s got the biggest trophy. Everything about it is just a little bit bigger than anything else.
Do you have much experience on Lake Hartwell?
Yeah I've fished three FLW tournaments there, I actually won one in 2011, that was my first tour-level win (2011 on the Walmart FLW Tour, won wire-to-wire). Even though it was a month later (March 24-27, 2011, as opposed to upcoming Feb. 20-22), any time you go back to a lake that you’ve had success on you’re just a little more familiar with.
Do you think that familiarity is an advantage?
No I don’t think it’s an advantage, it just gives me a little more confidence.
Any recent scouting for the Classic or just waiting for the pre-fish?
No, I’m going to treat this like any other tournament. It boils down to the first two Classics I was in. The last two years I pre-practiced, did a lot of study and things like that and I didn’t win. So this one I’m going to treat it like another tournament. I mean, it’s not, we all know it’s not. We get four days of practice. I’m going to take my chances with those four days of practice.
Any idea what kind of strategies or lures work best for Lake Hartwell this time of year?
I think it’s going to be some kind of spoon, or jig, but I’m not exactly sure what the lure is going to be. I think some guys will catch a few shallow, but I think the winner is going to be fishing 20-40 feet deep.
Who do you think are some of the biggest threats for this tournament?
The thing about the Classic is that everybody there has potential. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear anybody win, but if I had to pick somebody...[Edwin] Evers is due. Evers has fished way too many Classics, the caliber of fisherman that he is and not win one. There’s Cliff Pace, a really good jig fisherman…there’s a list a mile long that I think deserve it and probably have the ability to win, but the thing is we can only have one winner.
What Elite Series events are you looking forward to this year?
If I had to pick one I’d say it’s the California Delta, I’ve never been there and don’t know anything about, I’ve just always heard it’s a flippin' strain, great for guys who like to flip. It’s got big fish in it, so I’m kind of looking forward to that one.
Are there any major differences between FLW and B.A.S.S.?
There are some similarities and differences, but really it’s still the same thing. The biggest thing is not having a co-angler, so that allows you to fish a little bit differently. Also the Elite Series only has 100-113 people in it, so that opens the lake up a little bit, it’s not as crowded.
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