By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
(Editor's Note: In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, a new First Cast feature story will not appear until Monday, Nov. 27. The BassFan staff would like to wish you all a joyous and relaxing Thanksgiving.)
Cody Meyer has built his career around light-line finesse tactics, but in a lot of ways, he considers himself an old-school fisherman. Now that he's 40 years old, he figured it was time to shift his focus to a more traditional tournament format.
That, said the California native who now resides in Idaho, is the primary reason he's leaving the MLF Bass Pro Tour and will attempt to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series via the 2024 Opens. He's one of several veterans taking that route this year – the list also includes Cliff Pace, Brett Hite, Randall Tharp and Russ Lane.
"I just want to try something different," he said this week. "I actually miss culling fish and putting them in weigh-in bags and all of that. There's nothing wrong with catch-all-you-can (the format that the BPT will return to this year) and I think it'll end up being very successful, but I just love fishing for five and weighing them in."
A longtime FLW stalwart, he joined the BPT at its inception in 2019 and his results were mostly solid if unspectacular. He finished between 29th and 48th in each of the five seasons, earning REDCREST qualifications on three occasions.
He competed in two MLF Invitationals last summer, finishing as the runner-up to Nick Hatfield at the Potomac River and logging an 8th-place showing at the Mississippi River. That circuit employs a traditional format and he said those events stoked his fire to return to boxing fish on a full-time basis.
"I wasn't dealing with the ScoreTracker (the live update system used on the BPT) and it was peaceful," he said. "I was able to focus better and catch them better. I think I'm one of the guys who do better not knowing what everybody else is catching.
"I do want to say how thankful I am for FLW and MLF – I've spent my whole career with those two organizations. I still plan to fish a few of the Invitationals next year."
Having his young children be able to see him bring fish to the weigh-in stage was another factor in his decision to pursue an Elite Series berth. Also, he has a burning desire to compete in a Bassmaster Classic.
"I've worked (the Expo at) 20 Classics, but I've never fished one," he said. "That's something that I definitely want to do some day – it's something that I've dreamed about since I was a kid.
"I want to do this for another 20 years. It's tough to leave a top-level tour to go and fish the Opens, but it just seemed like the time was now or never."
> Meyer fished the Northern Opens in 2022 and turned in two strong finishes (4th at Oneida Lake and 27th at the James River), but finished up with a 128th at the Chesapeake Bay.
> He won the 2005 Western Open at California's Lake Shasta.