When it comes to fishing the Bassmaster Classic, Dean Rojas is as consistent as they get.
Dean Rojas is a name that has become synonymous with professional bass fishing. Since his first major accomplishment back in 2001, when he broke the world record for the largest tournament weigh in of 108.12 pounds, he hasn't slow down much since.
Rojas has gone to 37 top ten finishes, 68 top 20s, and an incredible 114 top 50s. To cap off those impressive tournament results, Rojas has four wins to his credit. This year alone, he has four top 10s in the Elite Series, not to mention qualifying for his 13th Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina.
In the midst of preparing his rig for the Classic at the end of this month, Rojas set a side a little time to talk with us about what it means for him to make it back to his 13th Classic, and what he plans to do when he gets there.
Considering this will be your 13th Bassmaster Classic, are you approaching this one any differently than any of the Classics you have fished in the past?
DEAN ROJAS: "You know, really it's the same preparation as any other Classic, just now I'm over all the shock and awe. I've lead it going into the last day before, and now I'm ready to win. That's always the main goal going into this event."
From all of the tournaments that you have fished in the past, what makes the Classic so challenging, besides the fact you are fishing against the best of the best?
"The Classic is not a points tournament like all the others. You have to get out there and find the bigger fish. At other tournaments, you go for points and making sure you place so high, but this tournament is only three days, so every fish needs to be a good one. As long as there's a little bit of luck and things just go your way, things have a way of working out. At this tournament, you have to keep an open mind and give it everything you got."
Can you credit any specific lure style or pattern to your success for the 2014 season that lead you to the Classic?
"You know, that's an interesting question. This year, I probably have fished the simplest I ever have, and that really has made this Classic a little more special to me I think. I could put the baits that I used this year into two tackle boxes. I really just stuck to the baits that I know I have confidence in and fished the areas where those baits are most effective."
Out of the those two tackle boxes of lures you used, is there one that stands out?
"Hands down it was my Fighting Frog by Big Bite Baits, that I actually designed. It's a creature bait that was tied on at just about all the events I almost won, like Toledo Bend, or second place down at St. Johns, which actually the Fighting Frog was all I used. The same for Cayuga Lake because all I used was the Fighting Frog there in the grass. It's just a bait I have a ton of confidence in."
Looking back at your career, how much has your fishing style changed from when you first started to now?
"I'm going on my 16th year. I can say without a doubt that it has changed a lot. I went through a spell where I threw nothing but crankbaits. Then I did the same thing with spinnerbaits. I can remember three years there I threw nothing but a frog. I fish smarter now than I did before. I have incorporated different techniques that I have learned over the years. I have found a way to really balance everything out. I have six or seven different techniques that I know I can perform well at and I know those techniques cover all the bases that will let me perform well."
Good luck this year! Hopefully, you will be able to claim your first title.
"Thank you. You know I'm just real excited to get out there. I'm excited to fish a tournament that I haven't won yet, and it's one I really want, too. This is a special deal for me and I really look forward to it along with all the other stuff that comes with it. It's always a fantastic event. If you can't tell, I'm just ready to get going."
Dean Rojas will be a competitor that the other fishermen in the Classic will pay special attention to as he pulls up to the weigh-in at the end of each day. Don't be surprised if Rojas will be the last man standing at the end of the tournament.