You can’t go home again, or can you?

Written by Sarah on May 13, 2011

For years, they called it “localitis,” said that a tour-level angler fishing on his home turf couldn’t win. Last year the Elite Series went to California and a Virginian (John Crews) won. Shortly thereafter they traveled back across the continent to Virginia and a Californian (Skeet Reese) took home the title. Too bad they couldn’t have each won in their home state – the postage for the trophy would have been less.

But since that time there’s been something of a turnaround. I blame Tommy Biffle, who spent the practice period for the Fort Gibson event mowing his lawn. He spent the competition days mowing down the field. Then Shaw Grigsby started the 2011 season off by winning in his home state of Florida. This past week, Steve Kennedy won at West Point, a lake that he frequented as a youth. He hardly practiced at all for the event.

Why the turnaround, from home staters rarely if ever winning to claiming the crown in 3 of the past 6 Elite Series?  I have a theory. I think that 10 or 20 years ago, there was a substantial drop-off from the top tour-level anglers to those at the bottom of the barrel. Only a small percentage really had any chance at all to win. Back then, you may have been local, but chances are your skills lagged behind the big boys. Now, while there’s some distribution along the curve, the field is tighter from top to bottom and that little bit of local wisdom provides the bump needed to get over the top. We’ve seen that theory in action in recent months. That doesn’t mean it’ll happen again any time soon, but if I were a betting man, I’d guess the tournament where it’s most likely to occur is at the Arkansas River (assuming the tournament isn’t canceled due to high water) – if that’s the case, anglers like Scott Rook, Kevin Short and Billy McCaghren are good bets.

If the big boys came to your home lake, could YOU beat them?

Another great blog written by Facts of Fishing blogger, Pete Robbins.

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