Fishing with the Pros in Palatka

Palatka, Fla. (WCJB) Imagine telling your family and friends you won 100 thousand dollars on a 4-day fishing trip.
That's what one professional angler is going to be able to say this weekend.

75 of the best anglers in the world are trying to do just that in Palatka for this weekend's Bass Master Elite Series competition.
Here's a look into why competitors say a tournament of this scale is as much a mental struggle as a physical one.

Bernie Schultz has been fishing competitively for more than 30 years and knows the St. Johns river well. "Its a great river the St. Johns is one of the best bass fisheries in the country. It's a great place and I just kind of went to some of the places I'm familiar with, that was my strategy."

Schultz whose hometown is Gainesville has that strategy taking him into the top 35. He will still be fishing Saturday but it's not always easier fishing this close to home.
"It's always good when you're close to home there's less travel and that's a huge factor in what we do. There's a lot of road miles and it really takes a toll on you by the end of the season there are guys just begging for it to be over with. However fishing at home sometimes you have an advantage, and sometimes you know more than you should and you try to do it all and it doesn't work out."

Fishing for 8+ hours a day isn't just a battle against the scaled creatures of the deeps, or shallows.
"There's mind games you're thinking about were you should be, am I in the right place how much time do I have to fish, am I going to get crowded by other competitors. I mean there's a lot of things going on in your head but you're really focused on your next cast."

The tournament continues through Sunday and is free. There's plenty of opportunities for anyone interested to see some big fish and meet some of the most prominent anglers in the world.

Eric Lopez who is the Director of event operations for B.A.S.S. said, " you can learn from the pros some of the best anglers in the world how to fish their body of water the St. Johns. A lot of people are familiar with this but have they ever had the ability to get tips from the pros probably not."

Lopez estimates this 4-day tournament will bring 2-4 million dollars of economic value to Palatka and even more when it's re-broadcasted on ESPN and it brings in tourists.