BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 22

me - moving south and being able to put time in on the water year-round.” Instead of fi shing 30-40 days a year when he lived in Minnesota, Remitz started fi shing 150-200 days a year, and it’s all that experience and time on the water that began to transform Derek into the angler he is today. “By 2005 and 2006, I was fi shing two regions or series of the Bassmaster Opens, the FLW Strens (as they call them now) or Everstarts (as they were called then), basically the regional division level stuff, and I did well competing against some of the older, more seasoned guys. How I eventually got into the pros was I just slowly evolved from the local tournaments, and started doing good in those, and moved up to the regional tournaments, and if you can start making checks in those, then you are ready to make the next step. Of course, nobody really knows what is going to happen until you do it. That’s why at this time in my life, I just decided to try it and see. If I went out there and lost all my money and got my head handed to me, I would have went back to working on the farm. So I really had a wait and see attitude toward fi shing,” says Derek wisely, adding “That’s kind of how fi shing is. You obviously have to set goals but you really kind of just have to let stuff happen the way it does.” “I just kind of take fi shing as it comes, and another thing that came along and helped me was in 2006; I ended up winning the angler of the year points overall in the Northern Opens. That meant I had a free ride into the Elites, including all entry fees paid for; so that was $55,000 right off the bat that I did not have to come up with or worry about. That really eased my mind and made up my mind to enter into the 2007 Elite season. Why I had fi shed the Opens to begin with, was I wanted to see if I could do well enough to come close to qualifying for the Elites. If I had fi nished 3rd, 4th of 5th in the points and had to pay for everything, I wouldn’t have done it. I really just wanted to see how I would stack up was all. I did not set that out (to get into the Elites) to be my goal. It just kind of happened, and with entry fees paid for, I fi gured I would have the rest of my life to pay off the rest of the bills I’d incur being on tour, so I might as well give it a whirl. It was a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity that I began to consider as a potential job change or new career path for me, and I decided to take it very seriously as a possible life-changing direction for me, not that I knew what was going to happen, just that I went about it with a different perspective than I had before. I was not going into the Elites just to go to fi sh tournaments anymore. I decided then that I was going there to try to see if I could parlay this golden opportunity into a lifelong career.”

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know you are probably not going to win a tournament don’t go shing for something on a lark. There’s such a ne line. Sometimes an idea works, sometimes it doesn’t but my best advice is to just stick with your gut feeling. I would say over 50% of the time, your gut feeling is right, and it is all about that one bite. If you get that one bite and you are paying attention to it, that can tell you what to do for the rest of the day. You know, you catch a ve pounder on a point somewhere and you pick up on that and you start run- ning points, you may catch 20 pounds. It’s just staying focused and mentally tough and paying close attention to the water you have and how you got that bite. It is 95% mental and 5% physical. We’re our worst enemies out there because we can talk ourselves into or out of doing what we know is right.”

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“I just take it day by day and keep my goals small and don’t expect too much. I’m not saying I don’t expect to do well, but I don’t set high expecta- tions for myself at the beginning of the season or the start of an event. You just have to know in your heart what your abilities are, and I’m not bragging or anything, I am just saying in the past four years shing the Elites, I know I can do this. I know I have been able to beat the others a few times and I just trust my ability to go shing and let things fall where they may.” “I’ve still got a lot left to learn but starting my fth season on the Elites, I kind of feel that I’m just another one of the guys out there now. It is kind of hard to explain, but I feel like I belong there. I’ve gotten to know everybody over the past four years, and I’ve made some good friends out there on the water. I get along very well with everybody, and that’s the coolest thing to become friends with Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese and Scroggins, Jeff Kriet and Russ Lane to name a few. I’ll call these guys up when I’m driving down the road, just to pass time talking with them, and that’s pretty cool in itself right there. Many of these guys I grew up watching on TV when I was 15 years old and now they’re my friends. It’s like if you like football and you get to make friends with Joe Montana and Brett Favre and others.”

Up and coming young pros are probably a lot more fortunate these days than they were twenty or even ten years ago according to Remitz. Since he started on the Elites in 2007, he feels the learning curve keeps accelerating each year and part of that is because of the proliferation of Internet coverage. “Instead of there being like one or two de nitive websites ve years ago, there are so many more websites that cover all the tourna- ments now. I’m not exactly sure how many, but there are lots (of web sites) following the pros closely now. So everybody knows how everybody does in a tournament now. For newer anglers coming in, you have all that information right there, making it easier to come into a tournament knowing how the past seven years was won there compared to ten or twenty years ago when everybody had to gure it out on their own a cast at a time.” “I am sort of glad it wasn’t like that for me. Although it’s true you just never know what’s going to happen on the water any given day, access to all that info certainly makes it easier when one is starting out – not easier to catch sh but knowing where, how, when and details of certain patterns, all in a couple of clicks of the mouse… It seems you can pull up every tournament result from seven years ago if you want to. In and of itself, that doesn’t give a younger angler an edge, but it does get them pointed in the right direction. Experience is still paramount to success. There’s nothing more valuable than time spent on the water, but it (the Internet) let’s you hit the ground running and it can get you pointed in the right direction.” BWU

ON BEING ONE OF THE ELITE GUYS

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ON THE IMPACT OF THE INTERNET

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March/April 2011