After doing the math, New said it made sense to only fish the Eastern Opens. His plans were quickly amended after winning at Kissimmee, which cle
After doing the math, New said it made sense to only fish the Eastern Opens. His plans were quickly amended after winning at Kissimmee, which cleared his path to the Elites. Not only did he qualify for the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, but his earnings allowed him to enter the Central Opens. He went on to win the 2020 Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year title.
“If I don’t fish both divisions, one, I don’t win AOY, and two, I don’t qualify for the Elites,” he said. “If I don’t qualify for Elites, I don’t go win my first. If I won the second Open, I would have already missed entering the Centrals. It had to be that first Open for everything to happen the way it has.”
New said he realized that’s a pretty amazing set of occurrences, but it’s simply the culmination of working toward his life’s goal.
“What we’re doing fishing, it’s no different than life,” he said. “It’s our job. It’s our dream. It’s what we’ve worked for. Very fortunate that it’s as fun as it is, but it’s just like anything else.
“Everybody has a goal, a dream. They work their way toward it, work their way, get close and don’t get there. Maybe they get a setback but keeping working, then eventually get a break. Work a little harder, then eventually it happens.”
It happened in Florida
New went into his first Elite event knowing Florida is hit and miss, that big bags are hard to come by four days in a row. With 12 pounds after a weather-shortened Day 1, he felt OK to stand 22nd. With one of the seven bags topping 20 pounds on Day 2, New reached ninth. Then 21-0 had him begin Championship Sunday in sixth, just 5-7 off the lead.
“I had no inkling I could win that day,” he said. “First Elite, Top 10, I was happy with that.”
Catching his limit quickly, New took the lead by midmorning. When he got over 20 pounds, he knew he would at least move up the standings for a bigger paycheck. New said the coup de grace came in a fortunate pass in lily pads just south of Lake George.
“Literally, the only reason I stopped there was because I didn’t want to go through the idle zone,” he said. “Then I catch those two great big ones. At that point, I knew there was a legitimate chance.”