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Rookie Sensation – Ryan Said | Print |  Email
Written by Paul Strege   
Friday, 11 February 2011 21:34
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Walking in the shoes of an Elite Series newcomer (Part 1)... Ryan Said

When the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series tour commences on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida on March 10th, several anglers will realize a lifelong dream of competing on angling’s largest stage when they officially begin their B.A.S.S. careers. As Elite Series newbies, they have many things in common. They have assembled sponsorship teams willing to invest in their potential as future tour anglers, they are preparing for the upcoming season with as much zest and drive as any tour veteran, and lastly, they are competing to secure their future positions on tour. For as much as they have in common, however, they are uniquely different.

The following perspective is that of B.A.S.S. Elite Series rookie, Ryan Said.

Path to the Elites
The 2010 B.A.S.S. Northern Open season was supposed to be one of his last at the AAA level for Wixom, Michigan angler Ryan Said. He had been fishing for 12 years, three of which were at the AAA level, yet failed to qualify for the Elite Series. Expenses were mounting and he decided that the 2011 season would be his last. He was at peace with his decision, and at the same time, remained focused on the goal at hand.

Said recalls, “It has always been a goal to make it to the Elites, but those were going to be my final years fishing at the AAA level. It just was so expensive. I would not have given up fishing had I not made it, but the more that I fished, the more I realized how much of a financial strain it was becoming.”

The 2010 season would be different than those of Said’s past. He cashed a check in every tournament and earned 2nd and 3rd Place honors on Lake Champlain and the Detroit River, respectively. He captured the Northern Opens points title, qualified for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, and finally reached his longtime goal of making the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail.

Tour Impressions
Ryan Said believes that both the excitement and anxiety of his early tournament days may be rekindled during his first Elite Series tournament.

“I had a lot of anxiety in the first BFL I ever fished in Michigan. There were a lot of very well known guys in Michigan that I was competing against at the time, and it was my first step up into a big tournament. Ever since then, I’ve never been that intimidated because I have just gotten used to it. When I start hearing names like Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam, though, then those butterflies from the first BFL may come back. So, we’ll see what happens.”

Said also recognizes the unique opportunity that awaits; he is in the enviable position of competing on tour rather than qualifying for it.

“It is an opportunity of a lifetime; one that a lot of my buddies would love to have. I just want to come out and make sure that I enjoy it and have fun fishing. Opportunities where everything lines up like this don’t happen very often. They have for me, so I want to take advantage of it.”

Tour Schedule
One of the biggest challenges facing an Elite Series rookie is learning unfamiliar waters. Many tour veterans go into each season armed with decades of experience. The 2011 schedule visits several lakes,

however, that B.A.S.S. has not visited in the last several years. A few of those venues may favor anglers like Said.

“I am most comfortable on lakes where I can find something off the bank, post-spawn or summer. I grew up fishing mostly for smallmouth in the north, and a lot of that type of fishing was over offshore structure. One of my strengths is using electronics, like my Humminbird, to figure things out, so I am hoping a few of these lakes will set-up for fishing that way. Murray, Wheeler, and even Toledo Bend may give me the opportunity to put my Side Imaging to work.”

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 February 2011 03:33

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