On Sunday morning of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, Justin Lucas knew he had won the title. He was in the mood for a chat and allowed this reporter to get in the boat with him and Bassmaster LIVE cameraman Eric Kafka.
As soon as I sat down, Lucas got agitated. “This spot has pissed me off all week,” he said. “I’ve seen lots of good ones here, but they won’t bite.” Even on the day when Lucas had the AOY title sewn up, he was still competing intensely. The great ones typically do. Here’s more from our conversation:
You’ve already won AOY, why don’t you head on in and order a pizza? “I told Josh [Bertrand] I was going to fish as hard as I can to show it was impossible to catch me. [Lucas ended the day in seventh place, which meant Bertrand couldn’t have caught him for the AOY title even with a first-place finish. Bertrand finished 49th after heading home early for the birth of his second child.] I really want to finish in the Top 12 here. That would make five Top 12 finishes in a row. How can anyone compete with that?”
I heard you haven’t been sleeping well. How’d you do last night? “Best I’ve slept in a month since taking the lead at St. Lawrence.”
After finishing 64th in AOY last year, what was your attitude coming into this season? “I had something to prove to myself this year. Nobody else. I didn’t want to be that guy who had three awesome years and couldn’t come back. Working the Classic was a motivator for me. I don’t want to do that again.”
You seem to have gone to a different level of determination this year. “I feel like I’m the most competitive person I know. Others might see me as this 5-foot, 9-inch guy. But I’m the most intense person I know. I hate to suck.”