Days after capturing his first B.A.S.S. victory, Britt Myers was still trying to win it -- in his dreams.
Myers was startled awake on several mornings around 3 a.m. thinking he still had some work to do in the Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay presented by GoRVing. He had already topped Brett Hite by 4 ounces last Sunday and took the trophy home.
“Everyone keeps asking, ‘Has it hit you yet? Has it hit you?’” Myers said. “Every morning, I’ve been waking up extra early and I feel like I’m still in the tournament. I’m thinking what I’m going to do that day to seal the deal. It’s three days later and I’m still thinking it.”
The same type of anxious awakening happened to Greg Hackney during the 2014 AOY event, when on one wind-cancelled day he panicked after a nap thinking he was late to go fish for the title. Reality shortly came into focus for both.
While driving to this week’s event, Myers stopped at the JM studio for some TV/web shoots, and we got our hands on him for some news, notes and nuggets.
Although Myers lives in South Carolina on Lake Wylie (his CS Motorsports business is in Gastonia, N.C.), he doesn’t fish the state’s Low Country waters much, but he did find some useful intel on his scouting trip 45 days before the event. First, he found the easy piece of the puzzle -- the largest fish in the region’s rivers resided in the Cooper River, just under the Santee-Cooper Lakes.
“I did a lot of homework and research,” he said. “I knew with the way the floods have been, and because the water hadn’t been that good in other places, a lot of people would run to the Cooper River.
“I actually drove that twice from Georgetown. I counted the mileage, time and tides. You had to take into consideration the tide. If you ran against it, you’re going to burn more fuel.”
When and where to get fuel was another huge factor, he said. Little known to most competitors was the Daniel Island Marina and its hidden gas pump. It was on his shortcut and he took advantage each morning after running most of the way to his spot.
“I got gas every morning so I could fish until the last second, because the tide was always better in the evening, and that ended up being the key,” he said. “I caught two very, very late that were little, but that’s what won it for me.”
Yes, it seems he has come to the realization that he did win his first Bassmaster event, even if he’s still foggy on that fact each morning. This is what he told Tommy Sanders for “Winning Ways.”
“I have to pinch myself every morning when I wake to make sure this really happened.”
It did happen, Britt. Rest assured, it’s in the books. That trophy on your nightstand should have clued you in quicker.
TEACHING ELAM BUDDY SYSTEM
If Myers had missed his check-in on Day 2, James Elam would have heard an earful from him. Myers had the event’s second largest bag at 21-7, and he asked Elam to watch out for him on the 100-mile ride back from the Cooper to Winyah Bay.
“He maybe didn’t fully understand the concept. He kind of looked at me funny,” Myers recalled. “I was like, ‘I got a pretty big bag. I gotta make sure I make it back. Let’s ride together back.’ He said OK.”
All was well for the first hour or so, then Myers boat experienced a common problem of whacking something and “slinging an ear.”
“My prop flew apart, and he just keeps going … and he never looks back,” Myers said. “I was mad for a little bit. I thought if I don’t get back … ”
Fortunately for both, just as Myers was beaching his boat on shore, Fred Roumbanis pulled up and promised to wait on him. But he didn’t have to wait long -- Myers turned NASCAR pit crew. Knowing the potential for such instances on his long runs, he was prepared with a prop and wrench handy.
“Fred Roumbanis is like I’ve never seen someone change a prop that fast,” Myers said. “Maybe a minute and half … it may not have been 60 seconds.”
But there was another problem. Myers was so pumped up and in such a hurry he beached his boat a bit too hard and required multiple attempts to push it back in the water.
“When I did get the boat away from the bank, the tide would push it back,” he said. “It was a struggle. I probably got in and out five times.”
RETURNING TO SCENE OF BEST SHOWINGS
Myers is certainly feeling good coming off a victory and heading to a venue where he nearly won. He had two of his better showings at Bulls Shoals, a fifth in 2013 and runner-up the year before.
“Those don’t matter at this point, but at least you know you can catch them here,” he said. “I was way more excited about Bull Shoals than Winyah Bay. Bull Shoals is a fish factory. It’s absolutely full of fish.
“My style is I like to move around a lot, and you can pattern fish there.”
Making the most of practice will be critical. Since there are two venues, the pros receive another day to practice, meaning they began scouting Bull Shoals and Norfolk on Sunday. They get most of Wednesday to practice before the angler meeting then the first day of competition is Thursday.
“You going to have to manage your practice right,” Myers said. “It’s a lot of digest and a lot to dissect. My goal is to find them really quick at Bull Shoals and then spend 2 1/2, 3 days at Norfolk. That’s my goal.”