John's Journal...

2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell - from Good to Great: $15,000 to $300,000 in 8 Hours of Bass Fishing

Day 1: The Choice between Reason and Faith with Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell

Editor’s Note: The 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell ( of Springville, Alabama, explains, “There’s often one defining moment in a person’s life when they have to choose between being good and being great. Usually, the choice comes from a voice deep within, and the option to be great often defies reason. Some call it intuition, some call it faith, and some call it the Holy Spirit. I’m totally convinced that each one of us has the potential for greatness. When opportunity comes along, there’s always a choice between reason and faith.”

Click for Larger ViewOn the last day of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic ( in February, 2014, I was in 11th place. I needed to catch 9 pounds of bass just to equal the catch of Edwin Evers, the leader at that point. As I headed out for the final morning, I thought I knew where I wanted to fish, but the Lord had other plans for me. I was motoring out of the harbor to run to Mill Creek on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama, ( where I’d scored the previous morning. I had told my wife, Robin, and the press corps that that’s where I’d start fishing. So, I knew my family would be there to watch. Even though I was in 11th place, and it appeared that I didn’t have a chance to win. I was confident I could win, because there were a tremendous number of big bass in Lake Guntersville.

Click for Larger ViewAs I throttled out of the launch site and pushed the throttle of my boat to full speed, a picture came into my mind of Spring Creek Bridge. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Go there now!” I had heard this voice before two other times. I had learned what happened when I didn’t obey. The second time I heard the voice was in another tournament that I won. However, I began to argue with what I had just heard. I told myself, “I’ll go there later.” I knew my family would be at Mill Creek, the press was going to be at Mill Creek, and I believed I could catch a big bag of bass at Mill Creek. I thought I’d go to Spring Creek later. Then the voice came back to me and said, “GO THERE NOW. DO YOU WANT TO BE GOOD, OR DO YOU WANT TO BE GREAT?” The voice spoke with such power, strength and authority that it almost scared me. Up until I heard the last message, my conscious mind was arguing with the command I’d been given. The second time the voice spoke, I turned my boat around and pointed it in the direction of Spring Creek. I’d only fished at Spring Creek for a small portion of an official practice day, and I hadn’t fished the bridge at Spring Creek at all, during the official practice.

Click for Larger ViewI decided on the way to Spring Creek that I’d go under the bridge and fish the riprap on the corners of the bridge. The bass at Mill Creek had been moving out of deep water to the warmer water on the rocks, and I thought the bass in Spring Creek would probably be on the same pattern. But I also was really second guessing my decision. The bridge at Spring Creek was known as a “community fishing hole” where local fishermen regularly caught 8 - 10 pound bass. As I pushed the accelerator on my boat to full throttle toward Spring Creek, I was almost overcome. I realized I was putting my bass fishing career and my family’s financial future on the line, because of a powerful voice that I had heard, but no one else had. Although I could explain the voice, few people would understand. As I motored down Guntersville Lake, my confidence began to build. Even though reason dictated there was no way I could move from 11th place to first place in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, I remembered one of the lessons I’d learned many years ago in Matthew 19:26 – “With God all things are possible.”

Note from writer John E. Phillips: Each day I get a devotional called “To You - Love God.” As I was working on this day’s web article on Randy Howell, I received this message on my computer from

Click for Larger ViewTo: You

If you hear the call and do not answer, it is as if it were never issued.
If you see the summit and do not begin to climb, you will never stand upon its surface.
If you feel guided and do not follow your inspiration, it will slip into the past.
If you see your ideal and do not claim it as your own, it will hover forever beyond your grasp.
If you feel called to improve the lot of humanity but take no action, your contribution will be minimal.

Nothing is more powerful than opening the spigot and allowing your own divinity to pour out drenching the parched earth with, love, acceptance, peace, forgiveness, understanding, enthusiasm and compassion.

You are the one you are waiting for. You are My personal emissary into this world at this time.
Express the greatness that you are and, in so doing, inspire others to follow your example.

Love, God

To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics” go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Also, please check back with this website next week to learn about John E. Phillips’ latest Kindle eBook – “Outdoor Life’ Complete Turkey Hunting, 2nd Edition” - and John’s reprint of his very-popular print book, “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible, 2nd Edition,” and where to buy them.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: When 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell Didn’t Have the Faith to Listen to the Voice

Check back each day this week for more about 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell - from Good to Great: $15,000 to $300,000 in 8 Hours of Bass Fishing"

Day 1: The Choice between Reason and Faith with Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell
Day 2: When 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell Didn’t Have the Faith to Listen to the Voice
Day 3: The 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell Explains That Mountains Are Moved by the Prayers of Children
Day 4: 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell Mentally Stays in the Hunt But Is in 12th Place before the Classic’s Day 2
Day 5: 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion Randy Howell Says God Told Him to Go to Spring Creek and Asked, Do You Want to Be Good Or Do You Want to Be Great?

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Entry 760, Day 1