Since the beginning of the Bassmaster Elite Series, Jeff Kriet has hovered around the top of the field and was considered one of the veterans to watch out for. He was often the odds on favorite to win and has logged an impressive list of top 12 finishes.
His accomplishments on the Elite Series put him among some of the best to have ever fished. However, three missed Bassmaster Classic appearances and finishing 47th in this year’s AOY points race could have you wondering, “Where did the Jeff Kriet of old go.”
I caught up with Jeff this week and asked him about the last three years and if there are any adjustments for 2015. Candidly and quickly his response was “You bet there are and I’m going out there this year mad at them. When I say them, I mean the fish. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great attitude this year and honestly I am having fun fishing again. I think loving what you do and having fun is half the battle.”
Jeff said he has spent a lot of time soul searching for where things started to go wrong. “Finishing second to Kevin VanDam in the Bassmaster Classic, in hindsight, stung a little worse than I thought. At the time I did not think it did but it put some negative thoughts in my mind that affected my fishing. It seemed like my “Nothing can get in my way” attitude got effected and it showed in my fishing. Some people, including me, said I had to work on a few issues in my head but honestly I don’t believe it. I just needed to make a few adjustments.”
Most importantly, Jeff said, that this year he is going back to being a grinder. “The past few years it seems that I have neglected my biggest strength. I believe that I can grind out a good limit of bass better than anyone out there. For some reason I got away from it but you can bet that this year there will be some grinding going on. You could see that with Jared Lintner last year. He quit focusing on how everyone else was fishing and went back to fishing the way that got him here and he started catching them again. There is a lot to be said about fishing your strengths and that is what I’m going to do”.
Another thing he said is that each of the last three years he had a tournament that he flat out bombed and it ruined the year. “You can’t make one mistake against these guys. They are that good”.
Jeff also explained something that he felt had an affect was his attention to the advances in equipment and not taking advantage of them. “Sometimes I can be a little old school and ignore change. I love my sonar and honestly feel I can read it better than I can on my side and down image but things have gotten a little better and I am really focused on using every resource available. I’ll be running multiple graphs this year, which is something I have never done. It makes sense though to have all the information possible 100% of the time. I also figured out a few tricky things on my HydroWave late in the year that I think will also help.”
Lastly, Jeff explained, there will be a whole new attention to detail when it comes to tackle and the baits he throws. “A necessary evil in this industry is that sometimes you find yourself trying to make your sponsors baits work when you know in your mind that its not the right bait or the right time to throw it. I’m now working with sponsors that are providing exactly what I need for success and if they don’t have it they are committed to making it for me.”
There is no doubt that the Jeff Kriet we have become accustom to seeing at the top of the leaderboard will be back this year and changes he has made will give him a shot at that ever so elusive win.
Keep up with Jeff on his Facebook page.
Special thanks to Gene Eisenmann Bass East contributor.