Keeping the Dream Alive

In case you are wondering what the title of this story is all about, it is quite simple: It has been my dream since I was about 13 years old to compete in the Bassmaster Classic.

Many anglers share this same dream, but this is my story about how I am trying to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Personally, I like reading about others, and how they go about achieving their goals. I will try to share my experiences as well as things I learn along the way.

Bassmaster Classic LogoThe Bassmaster Classic is the longest-running and single most prestigious bass tournament there is. Period.

An angler has to qualify to get to the Classic. You don’t just pay an entry fee and show up. There are several different ways to qualify. Currently, the most spots are reserved for the Bassmaster Elite Series qualifiers. Other trails you can fish include the Bassmaster Opens, Bassmaster Federation Trail, Bassmaster Weekend Series and the national College Bassmaster champion. The total number of fishermen that make it is somewhere in the low fifties.

Each year, probably thousands of fishermen set out to qualify. For some, it may even be a two-year process. So just making it is quite an accomplishment.

Some anglers have made it multiple times -- usually those competing on the Elite Series trail.

Many others like myself have yet to make it but try each year in hopes that this may be the year.

I have met a lot of great people and have been to places that I probably would have never gone to had it not been for this dream. Hopefully, some of the things I’ve learned along the way may be helpful in your fishing.

The trail I am fishing to try to qualify for the Classic is the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series. This trail works perfect for me. All of the regular season tournaments are held on Saturdays, and there are divisions spread out around the country. You can compete in a division close to home to cut down on traveling costs as well as fish on bodies of water you may be more familiar with.

I am currently fishing the South Carolina division. Each division has five regular season events. At the end of the regular season, the top 40 in each division qualify to go on to a regional championship. Each regional will have a cut that you must make in order to qualify for the national championship.

The national is held each fall at a different lake.  You have to win the national championship to qualify for the Classic. It is probably one of the hardest ways to make it, but I am very thankful for this opportunity.

I know it’s a long shot, but the way I look at it is that somebody has to make it, so it might as well be me! I just qualified for the regional at Clarks Hill. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Hopefully this will be the year!

My name is Brian Gunn, and I am a bass fisherman from Georgia. I am 37 years old and have been bass fishing for over 25 years. Bass Pro Shops has given me an opportunity to write a blog for their website. I will be writing about my experiences that I encounter on the tournament trail, as well as my favorite places to fish and the lures and techniques that I use to catch bass and other types of fish.

Written by Brian Gunn