By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

Cody Huff had a bad run in the middle of the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series eason in which he posted two finishes in the high 90s and a 76th in consecutive events. Since then, he's been on a serious roll for a period covering almost a calendar year.

The 27-year-old from Missouri, who's in his third year on the circuit, has four single-digit placements in his last 11 outings – including a 3rd at this year's Bassmaster Classic – and hasn't missed the money cut in any of those events. With two tournaments remaining on this year's schedule, he sits 3rd in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings, just 26 points behind leader Justin Hamner.

He was in 69th place in the standings a year ago prior to finishing 20th at Lake St. Clair, 3rd at Lake Champlain and 14th at the St. Lawrence River. That hot streak bumped him up 39 slots and well inside the Classic cutoff.

He said there haven't been any tangible adjustments in his approach to events since his trio of bombs. He just never uncovered a productive strategy during the practice periods for any of those, whereas he has in every outing since.

"It hasn't been about changing a whole lot, but ever since then I've at least been able to get a little bit of an idea in practice," he said. "I haven't tried to narrow it down to one thing – I've tried to find a few deals that I could progress through the tournament with and eventually figure out what was the best pattern.

"Some places, you know what the deal's going to be when you get there, but we've had a few events with fish in different phases (of the spawn) and really scattered, and with those you need to be able to do different stuff. Now that we're pretty much exclusively in the postspawn timeframe, I've been able to kind of focus on the deeper style of fishing."

Will he be thinking about the AOY race during the back-to-back events next month at Champlain and the St. Lawrence? Yeah, but he says it won't be to the point that it affects the way he goes about his business.

"I'd love to make it happen, but it's not going to make me fish different," he said. "I've been trying to win every tournament and if I keep doing that and having good finishes, maybe I'll have a shot at it. The guy who wins it isn't going to be somebody who goes out and cashes two checks – it's going to take two more Top-10s.

"Winning a tournament is what's been on my mind more than anything – I've been close several times now and I'd love to win one. The first couple times I got close, there was always one person who really smashed them and I never had a chance. In the last one (at Wheeler Lake, where he finished 9th), I was actually close enough to have a real chance to win, but I just kind of ran out of fish. I never really got dialed in on Days 3 and 4 like I did the first 2 days."

He had great success on the Northern Swing last year and maybe that bit of history will repeat itself.

"I haven't fished for smallmouth a whole lot, but it's one of the funnest things I've ever done," he said. "They're such a fun fish to mess with.

"They're not as smart as the fish in a lot of places because they don't get beat on all the time and they just fight so hard!"


> Huff said his bad run last year didn't take a big toll on his psyche. "I never went through any bad frustration or anything like that," he said. "The places where I didn't catch them, I didn't have any experience and I still had a lot to learn, so I'm okay with that. I didn't get to practice at the Sabine because we'd just had a baby and I'd never seen the place before, so I just had to go fish."

> He's in frequent communication with Rick Clunn, the Bass Fishing Hall-of-Famer and fellow Ava resident. "You couldn't have a better guy to bounce things off of. We visit after every tournament and talk about what we did right and what we did wrong. Probably the biggest thing I've learned from him is to focus on the things that I can control and not on the things I can't."