Bassmaster still in sight, even after worst tournament of career

Having the worst tournament of my career in tournament competition was not how I wanted to finish off the 2020 season. The final Bassmaster Elite Series event of the year took place this past weekend at Lake Fork, Texas, one of the most well-known big bass fisheries in the World. I left there with an 83 place finish in the 85 angler field.
The reality is, that’s fishing and if you do it enough you’re going to have trips where you simply don’t figure it out. I assure you that I fished my butt off and tried to make something happen but it just didn’t work out this time around. I have a short memory and this event is already in the rear view mirror.
Fortunately I had a pretty good season and gathered enough points through the other eight events to qualify for the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, which will bring us back to Texas in March for the Superbowl event in bass fishing on Ray Roberts Lake. Qualifying for this tournament was my goal at the start of 2020 so it feels good to have made it now that everything is said and done.
It’s been a tough and crazy year for all of us with the global pandemic that we have all had to deal with. I’m very grateful that Bassmaster was able to reschedule several of our events so that we were able to finish off the season. Back in the spring this did not seem likely. We were supposed to wrap up our season back in August but we ended up having four fall events to make up for some of the cancelled spring events.
After being in the U.S. for the past six weeks to compete in these final four events, it feels so good to be home. In case anyone is worried about it, I’m self-isolating and doing my part to make sure that in case I brought COVID-19 back to Canada I don’t share it with anybody. This was the longest stretch that I have ever been away from home and that part of my job is not glamourous. The long drives are not either. That being said, I’m certainly thankful that I get to fish for a living, it’s just been more challenging this year.
I get quite a few messages and comments from people who are interested in how I was actually able to cross the border to compete in the U.S. over the past six months. Well, some people are interested, some seem upset. It took some communication and help from Bassmaster and U.S. Customs and Border Protection but I was granted permission because the U.S. allowed professional sports to resume and because competing in these tournaments is my main source of income. Obviously, I did not want to get sick while I was in the U.S. so I was careful with everything that I was doing, avoiding crowds and situations that could put me at risk for COVID-19.
This final event of the season in Texas was sponsored by Toyota. It has been a big fundraiser for Texas Parks and Wildlife over the past several years and has been aptly named Toyota Texas Fest. Their sponsorship of this event made the pay-outs larger and included a brand new Tundra truck for the big bass of the event. One of my roommates on the road and best friends, Minnesota angler Seth Feider caught the big bass of the tournament on the first day of the event and won the truck. The 9-9 largemouth was the first fish he caught and made for a pretty awesome finish to his season. Second year Elite Series pro, Patrick Walters from South Carolina ended up winning the tournament with a four day total of 104 pounds. He absolutely dominated the tournament, winning by a margin of over 29 pounds, setting a new record with the largest margin of victory in an Elite Series event. Thank you to everybody for the support during the season. I am looking forward to hanging around home for a while and will be ready to go again in February when the new season starts!