Was Larry cool with his season? Did Joey Cifuentes steal Larry's mojo? Is someone from Bee Branch, AR trying to use his good name? Is Larry really short for Largemouth?? Got most of those answered 😁, here we go!
1. How would you rate your first year back in a while, not including the Joey part?
> "Oh my – I sucked. I'm not gonna lie about it. There were 2 tournaments – it should've been 3 – that were real good tournaments: the Sabine, Santee Cooper and Lay Lake. I was on the right kind of fish, I just didn't perform. I just didn't fish good.
> "At the Sabine I lost 1 big fish that kept me out of the top 10. Santee I had a great tournament and was right there all the way, but a malfunction on day 3 kept me from making the top 10. When something freaky happens like that...no idea I had a cracked guide. The line was hitting the back of the guide when I was lifting that fish – that's what cut me off. Still, I should've known that. I guess that's just being complacent....
> "And then at Lay Lake I lost a couple key fish which kept me from making a good check. I didn't fish bad – it's just a different world right now and I didn't do well."
2. Are you gonna do anything different next year?
> "No not really. I'm learning – I'm like a kid, having to go back and learn a lot of things about fishing. Mainly I'm looking at and tinkering with my electronics to get them properly set each day, each situation – a lot of that stuff you gotta fine tune and I'm not used to that.
> "This looking out in front of you and fishing for bigger fish, it's an important part of the equation right now and I'm just not very good at it. But I'm gonna learn. I've got to. That's just the way it is."
3. We know how you have helped Joey – how has he helped you?
> "Boy that's a good question. His desire...he's just like I was when I was young. He's out of the driver's seat and on the front deck before the boat gets off plane. Youth and agility are things I'll never get back.
> "...one of those things I'm proud to see is he's also learned how to slow down. He doesn't get excited even when he's not catching them.
> "Sitting behind him at the Pan Am [Championship], letting him run the boat – I made most of the calls about where we needed to go and what we needed to do, but he did everything else. I spent [some] time on the front of the boat watching him read [the fish on FFS] and making him talk to me. A lot of it was exactly what I was seeing, but I wanted to see how he read it...watching him fine-tune his electronics and keep up with the fish."
4. What do you think about the level of competition on the Elites now vs years past? Any difference?
> "A monster difference. Every one of those 90 or 100 guys are very good at something. I'm talkin' very good. And probably 80% of them are extremely good at everything.
> "Back years and years ago, we had some donators – they wanted to fish tournaments but didn't have the knowledge yet. Now 80% of them are whoo they're good. It's hard just to make the top 50 over there now.
> "Used to be if you caught a decent string of fish every day you'd end up in the top 20. Not anymore. Now you better catch a good string of fish every day to end up in the top 20. They're really good."
5. A guy who just won the co side of the 2-day BFL on Lake Hamilton is from Bee Branch, AR and is named Leland Nixon. You know this guy or is he a Nixon imposter??
> "That's my little brother. He's a heat and air man.... They want him all the time – please come fix it. He's big-hearted so he'll go...help a woman or man in distress way more times than he should.
> "He's a good fisherman. He ran the front of the boat for about 4-5 years and won a few events around here. He sees how I live – eat, sleep, fish – he can't do that. He decided to go in the back of the boat, practice 1 day, then go and do it.
> "It's been a good year for him. When he won that tournament, I coulda won it myself."