Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Crews Still Improving In 3rd Year On Tour
This year former BassFan Army rep and current Tyson team member John Crews finished 107th in the BASS points and is now 16th in the FLW points. Aside from having what some would see as a bad year on one tour and a good year on the other, what might not be obvious is that this year is Crews' best yet.
John Crews enjoyed fishing for $100,000 every week this spring.
His first year on the Bassmaster Tour was 2003, and he finished 157th. So this year he improved 50 places in the points. And he's improved every year on the FLW Tour (69th, 64th and 24th), and looks to be on course to continue that trend.
But like all competitors, he's not satisfied. In the following, he talks about his third year on tour and how he feels about it.
2004 Bassmaster Tour Season
"I feel like I was doing well on the Bassmaster trail up until the last two tournaments," he said. "I think I was in the 70s or 80s in the points going into the last two, and then I had two really bad finishes (a 114th at Eufaula and a 127th at Santee Cooper) which dropped me below 100.
"The way the point structure is on the Bassmaster Tour, my lowest finish was 83rd going to the last one, and my highest was in the 60s. So every event I was right there around the check line. I was catching fish every event, and was one or two fish away from being in the Top 40. And then in the last two events I got really distracted, made some bad decisions and had a little bad luck. All that stuff compounds and gets to your head a little bit."
Elaborating on that, he said: "At Lake Eufaula, I didn't really practice properly. A lot of fish were spawning. I'd caught fish before on Eufaula when they were spawning, I felt like I could do well there sight-fishing, and I just didn't spend enough time looking for spawning fish. The bad luck was the fist day of the tournament, when I foul-hooked a 4 1/2-pounder and another fish around 2 1/2, and had to throw them back since I was sight-fishing for them. I still can't explain why both fish were foul-hooked. I don't understand it."
He said he was a little distracted by the fact that his roommate, Coby Carden, who finished 123rd in the points, "didn't have a good year either. When your roommate isn't doing well, it tends to bring you down. I'm not blaming anything on him – I'm just saying that together we didn't do well, so neither one of us could get anything positive going to help the other guy out."
Asked if he was satisfied to finish in the 60s range in tournaments, he said no. "Either I had the fish on (to finish better) or everyone had limits and I'd come in with three. So just two more keepers and I'd be right there in the hunt to do something in those tournaments.
"I wasn't far out of contention to have a really good tournament. I just couldn't make it happen."
He added: "Looking back on it, I should have maybe set my sights a little higher on the Bassmaster Tour other than just qualifying for the Classic – like a Top 10 finish in the points. You can' t do that finishing 60th and 70th in every tournament.
"I didn't really have any goals (on that tour), and I think that was one of my problems. I wanted to make the Classic badly, but I didn't map out a good gameplan to do so."
Cold Weather Helped and Hurt
This year's Bassmaster Tour was largely a cold-weather tour. In one way Crews felt that helped him, but in another way it didn't.
"I think the cold weather helped my fishing since I feel like I'm a better cold-water fisherman, but the cold weather affects me," he said. "I found out this spring (after the Atchafalaya FLW) that I have a condition called Raynaud's Disease. It's a condition where when your extremities get cold, especially your hands, the capillaries in your fingers seize up and overcompensate."
He explained that when your body gets cold, it sends blood to the center of your body to maintain the right core temperature. But in people with Raynaud's Disease, the body overcompensates and they lose some circulation in their fingertips.
"It takes about a week (of cold weather) before it sets in," he said. After it does, "as soon as my hands get cold, my fingertips get blue. It's kind of distracting because if it persists then bad things happen, like frostbite. Anytime it gets below 50 degrees, I have that in the back of my mind."
He has some medicine that helps with the numbness, but the condition also affects the strength of his grip on the rod, and reel. "Sometimes when it's real cold I have problems pushing the thumb bar down," he said. "It's weird. It's just a little bit of pressure, but I can't do it. I have to put my other hand on (the reel) so I can cast."
2004 FLW Season
Fishing both tours inevitably compromised the practice time for FLW Tour events. Some pros find that hurts them and others feel it helps. If anything, Crews is in the latter camp.
"A couple of the places where we had a short practice are places the Tour has been before," he said. "Atchafalaya, Beaver and Old Hickory were short, and I've been to all three of those places before. So I felt like 2 1/2 days was plenty of time figure out what was going on, especially in the early spring when conditions change every 4-5 days."
Familiarity with the tournament waters also helped him "That was part of it. I've been to some of those bodies of water before, and some of them just fit my style a little better. I was a little more comfortable on them."
His goal this season was to finish in Top 10 in the points. He was 9th going into Kentucky Lake, but finished 112th in that event and dropped to 16th in the points. "If I had a little better showing at Kentucky Lake (a Top 10 in the season-end points) would've been lot more attainable," he said. "But if I have a Top 10 finish at Champlain, I still may be able to jump back in."
Third Year Assessment
"I've attained a few goals that I set out to attain, but I still have some major accomplishments that I'm short of yet," Crews said. "I wanted to prove to myself that I could make some Top 10s (in tour events) and I've done that. And I've proven to myself that I can be consistent, which has probably been the hardest achievement for me since I started fishing competitively.
"Now I need to prove to myself that I can win a major tournament, and I need to prove that I can make the Bassmaster Classic since some of the guys who have made it are no better fishermen than I am."
> On the upcoming Champlain FLW – "The year before last there I had a really good time in practice, and in the tournament I was catching a lot of fish and learned a lot. So hopefully I can apply a few things I learned."
> In the FLW events he's rooming with fellow Virginian Jacob Powroznik. "He's a good shallow-water fisherman and has helped me out a couple of times with coming up with a good gameplan for tournaments. He also brings a lot of confidence and enthusiasm toward each tournament, which is contagious."
> On the spring two-tour schedule: "I thought it was fun – I was fishing for $100,000 every week. I thought that was awesome. If I had control of it, I'd love to spread them out over 6-8 months, but I can't dictate that so I just have to fish what's available."
> On getting back into the Bassmaster Tour: "I'm not sure if I'll requalify. I'm out of the Top 100, but last year they called past 100 to get people to fill the 150 slots. I'm also planning on fishing the Southern Opens this fall, and I'm hoping to finish in the Top 15 again so that I don't have to worry about it (he finished 10th in the points last year)."