February 13, 2013
Permitted use provided by: MajorLeagueFishing.com
Jason Quinn is a happy-go-lucky kind of an angler who likes to have loads of fun as he fishes, something that has been evident as he has smiled his way through the Jack Link's Major League Fishing 2013 General Tire Summit Cup competition.
So to find him a little serious, a bit subdued, and in a somewhat introspective mood before the championship round is ... well, it tells you just how important winning the Summit Cup is to him as the last day arrives on western New York's 13,000-acre Lake Chautauqua.
"Here I am in the championship round ... but also here are all of these other guys in the championship round," said Quinn. "They figured out how to catch them here and I figured out how to catch them also."
Meaning that there is little if any margin for error in a championship field crowded with veteran angling talent.
"You've got to fish real clean here today," said Quinn, the popular South Carolina pro. "You've got to make every bite count and catch a bunch of them."
Quinn has learned firsthand just how important "clean fishing" is when it comes to winning a tournament.
While most anglers would be happy to have a B.A.S.S. tournament win on their career resumes - Quinn has one - the veteran pro laments several tournaments that got away from him including four runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes on the circuit.
Thanks to those close calls, Quinn has learned that every single cast means something out here on the water.
"Mistakes cost you everything," he said. "Especially in an event like this where you weigh every legal fish that is 12 inches long.
"Everything counts, the weight adds up, and you don't want to miss any fish. You don't want to jump any fish off and you sure want to keep those penalties down to a minimum because that costs you fishing time."
While Quinn's focus will be on what he can control, it will not be on what he can't control.
Like the real-time leader board and the television cameras recording all of the action and reactions out there on the water.
"No, (I won't pay much attention to it) because we're all pretty much fishing the same exact way," said Quinn. "You've just got to be consistent and get in there and get it done. You can't be running around looking for new stuff."
Will the increase in boating activity and foot traffic on the docks magnify any mistakes made by Quinn and the rest of the field?
Quinn laughed and waxed a bit philosophic with his answer.
"It's really going to come into play, but hey, it's a typical weekend anywhere across the world," he chuckled.
What about the subtle changes in the morning's weather pattern: a high overcast sky, warmer temperatures and higher humidity?
Again, Quinn isn't worried about what he can't control, only what he can.
"It actually should have them charged up a little bit, at least that's what I'm hoping" said the South Carolina pro. "I hope they're ready and feeding as soon as we blast off."
Quinn is hopeful that he finds the fish eager and still willing to bite what he's going to start off offering them this morning.
"I've kind of got a little pattern down that worked in both rounds and we're going to run out here (shortly) and see if we can find some of the same kind of water and make it work (again)," he said.
While some of the finalists like Greg Hackney think that smallmouth bass may play more of a role in the final outcome, Quinn isn't so sure.
"You know, they could, but we really don't have the time to go out there and find them," he said. "There are some good looking places that we've got on the map for this area today (though) and I might pull up and make a couple of casts and see what happens."
If his early morning demeanor is any indication, then you can be sure that those casts will be clean and Quinn's focus will be sharp as he tries to capitalize on every possible bite Chautauqua has to offer.
Because chances to win a Summit Cup trophy don't come around very often.
And because of that, the suddenly serious Quinn aims to be holding that silver trophy high when the day is done.
With a huge South Carolina smile spread across his face.