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Cole Sans BASS Elite Series Rookie Season Recap

Cole Sands battling a smallmouth bass during the BASS Elite Series event

My first season on the Bassmaster Elite Series was everything that I imagined it would be!  Overall, I had a good rookie season, making seven of the nine top 50 cuts and achieving my main goal of qualifying for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic.

I had a couple of bad tournaments at the start of the year, but once I got settled down, I started making better decisions which ultimately led to better results.

The turning point of my season was stop four at the Santee Cooper event where I made a late-day decision that produced four keeper fish to finish out my limit which got me into day three. That decision to try something off the wall gave me the confidence I needed to make good decisions for the rest of the year.

Cole Sands holding up two smallmouth bass on the Elite Series stage in 2023My rookie season was also full of growth as a fisherman. The Bassmaster Elite series truly has the best fisherman in the world, and I realized that pretty quickly. You can no longer make an excuse that “the fish aren’t biting,” as this group of anglers is always going to catch them. Fishing against this talent level has definitely made me a better fisherman already and will continue to make me better.

I also grew a lot this year through gaining experience on new bodies of water. Out of the nine tournament lakes, I had only ever fished three of them. Looking back, I was most worried about the smallmouth lakes going into the year, but those were actually my favorites. I learned that smallmouth relate to grass and structure much like largemouth do and I was able to use my strength of using electronics to have three good smallmouth events.

I am incredibly excited for the 2024 schedule to come out and I will be interested to see what lakes I get to tackle next year. I can’t thank all of the companies that support me enough and allow me to live out my dream!

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