Quicksilver Pro Stetson Blaylock Continues Hot Streak at 50th Bassmaster Classic
The recent 50th Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, was special for Quicksilver Pro Stetson Blaylock. He had attended previous Bassmaster Classics as a non-contestant on behalf of sponsors, but in 2020 he qualified as a competitor. He made the most of it, too, finishing third in the Classic standings.
The high finish was the fifth-straight top-10 result for the Benton, Arkansas, Pro. His hot streak includes a ninth place (at St. John’s River, Florida), two eighth-place finishes (Lake Tenkiller, Oklahoma, and Cayuga Lake, New York), and a runner-up at Lake St. Clair, Michigan, at the 2019 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship.
“This being my first Classic, I got to experience what I have heard about my entire life and watched on TV and read in the magazines,” Blaylock said after the Classic. “I can tell you it’s a whole lot more than what you hear and see. The feeling, the first day, coming through that curtain to weigh in, is something I will never forget. I hope there are many more, but there will never be another first for me.”
Hank Cherry of Lincolnton, North Carolina, won the season finale in wire-to-wire fashion. Cherry caught a massive 29 pounds, 3 ounces on the opening day to set the pace and never relinquished the lead.
“I think I still would have finished second if Hank hadn’t caught 30 pounds on day one,” Blaylock said. “That tells me I was not on the ‘winning fish.’ That’s how I live in my career, though. You find what you can find and roll with it. If you go do your job and it’s your time, you’ll win.”
Blaylock is no stranger to finding and catching the “winning fish” to earn a victory. In 10 years of FLW competition before moving over to B.A.S.S., he notched five victories and amassed $894,655 in earnings. In just over three years of fishing B.A.S.S. events, he has earned $467,184 and notched a win at the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Winyah Bay in 2019.
Blaylock climbed to third in the recent BassFan World Rankings. BassFan is an independent news source that compares angler results across the Bass Pro Tour and Bassmaster Elite Series. It is the highest position he’s held during his 17-year professional career.
When asked about his run of success, Blaylock quickly pointed to the mental side of fishing.
“A lot of it is momentum, or whatever you want to call it, but staying positive has been a big part of it,” said Blaylock. “I haven’t changed the way I’ve done a single thing, from practice to preparation to making decisions, I still do the exact same things I’ve done for 10 years. It’s just that things are coming more natural to me, and I’m not worrying.
“If I have a bad practice, it doesn’t bother me. I know how fishing is. You can say you’re going to keep a positive attitude, but in the back of your mind, you’re wondering if you can go catch a limit that day. I’m not having those thoughts and am taking it one day at a time.”
The points race in the 2019 Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings came down to the final day of the season on Lake St. Clair. Blaylock tightened the gap with a runner-up finish in the event but ultimately fell short by just eight points, finishing second to Scott Canterbury.
The Quicksilver Pro is using that near-miss to fuel his competitive fire. He knows it’s a long season but coming so close to a Bassmaster Angler of the Year title leaves him wanting more.
“Just to be in the hunt with a chance,” is where Blaylock says he hopes to be when the Bassmaster Elites finish their 2020 season on Lake St. Clair in August.