When I first met Garrett Mercer, he didn’t have a driver’s license. The next time I got in a boat with him, he was giving me a test ride in a new Skeeter.

Today he is testing his skills as a professional on the Bassmaster Open tour’s Central Division, enjoying an opportunity to compete against the top pros in the land.

He made the decision to chase this dream at the beginning of 2008, but due to the high interest in the tour, he might have been shut out, except for his sponsors Skeeter and Yamaha who were vested in the Bassmasters.

Once the door was opened, he said, “I saved money from working and guiding.” And once he arrived at the first event on fabled Toledo Bend, he saw first hand what everyone had warned him about the type of angling he would encounter.

Said Garrett, “Out here we do more spot fishing. Out there you find a pattern and you run with it.”

But it was obvious from talking to the young San Diegan that the education was invaluable. “I learned more in two weeks that I learn here in a year,” he said.

If there was a downside to his tour fishing this year, it is that he will not be part of the West’s biggest contest, the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 U.S. Open on Lake Mead. As schedules would have it, the western event sits on top of his mid-country lead-up to a tour event.

However, he had a few things to say on the matter of the Open and what it offers to fishermen who are not involved with a tour. “I laud them for lowering the entry fee this year. That’s big,” he said. “When other tours are raising entries, WON (Bass) is lowering theirs (now $1600 for pros, $600 for AAA’s).”

He also put the U.S. Open cost reduction in context of competing on tour. “I looked at also fishing the FLW Series out here,” he said. “But for the cost ($4000 entry fee per Series event) I could fish the Bassmaster Centrals for two, maybe two and a half years, including travel back there.

“At the Open, you get a chance at a big prize for not that big of a price. It provides a great opportunity for anglers to not only make some money, but a name for themselves as well without going drastically into debt for the opportunity.”


2 Responses to “US Open will miss SD’s Mercer”

Is this really the biggest thing going in the west. At one time “YES” but really now “I don’t think so”. If FLW leaves next year it would probaly or maybe become back to the biggest thing going as long as Disneyland wasn’t running a 2 for 1 special.

I found your site on google, great site, keep it up. Will return in the future. Submitted this post to Google News Reader.