Everyone has that one tournament that they would like a “Do Over”. It’s the one that you barely missed the technique or just dialed it in too late. It’s the one that you would give anything to Do It All Over. It haunts you today and will haunt you for life. Not in a negative way but in a way that its hard not to revisit. There is always the one that sticks out most.
If you are an Elite Series Angler you can pretty much multiply that emotion by 1000. I posed that question to Mike McClelland recently and he immediately had the answer. Its weird, but they all seem to have it on the tip of their tongue.
Mike’s event that he would most like to do over is the Bassmaster Elite Series 2008 Empire Chase on Lake Erie. This one bothered him most because it affected the entire outcome of his year and goals that he had set as a kid. In Mike’s case, it was actually indecision that got the best of him and the event.
“As an angler, we all basically have the three same goals. Winning and event, winning the Bassmaster Classic and winning Angler of the Year. Going into the event I was positioned to win the Angler of the Year race with only two tournaments remaining. It was basically between myself, KVD and Todd Faircloth.
Things were going my way and I was executing as planned. I made the day three cut and felt good. The weather changed and the wind started blowing hard in a different direction. I had two primary areas. The first was close but it did not contain the quality fish it would take to do well. The second was about twenty miles. No big deal unless you are on Erie in a 20mph wind. The morning of day three I made the decision that it was not favorable to move around much and chose to stay close. I was certain that if I pushed the area I would get a couple of big bites. That did not happen.
I’m not sure what made me choose to stay close. It’s a toss up between being content in where I was in the tournament, and flat out not using my head and remembering whom I was fishing against.
Almost everyone chose to make long runs and almost everyone caught them better but me. KVD and Faircloth made big moves that day with KVD finishing 18th and Faircloth finishing 6th. I wound up in 47th place and took myself out of contention for the AOY race.
My biggest regret was underestimating the value of 20 or 30 AOY points. I went on to finish 11th at the final event on Oneida and finish 3rd in AOY. It’s amazing but that one decision on that one morning back in 2008 stands between me and one of my top three fishing goals. Its safe to say that when you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to get it. If I could do it over you can bet your rear that I am making that 20 mile run no matter what the conditions are.”