I'm in Columbus working at a real job this week. One of my top salesmen is off, so I'm doing a lot of things in his absence, things I'm not used to doing. He works hard, you know that? Some things aren't as easy as they look. I should have asked more questions before he left.
No matter, I'm getting ready to go back on the road at the end of the week. That'll be a relief. I can't wait to fish the first Professional Anglers Association event and then start competing in the Northern Opens. It's a new season as far as I'm concerned.
All this does bring something to mind that a lot of guys don't think about, however. At this level, fishing never stops. It's a 12-month activity regardless of what else is going on in your life. It's full-time in every sense of the word. As a weekender you might fish a tournament or two and then not even look at your boat for another couple of weeks. I never do that. As soon as I get home, I start repacking for the next series of events. It never ends, no matter what.
The first thing I always do is pack my maps for the next trip. They're not as important as they once were with the electronics we have nowadays but they still matter. There's something about unfolding a map that's a part of fishing. It seems like it's what you should be doing. Paper maps in professional fishing are like wood bats in professional baseball. It's a part of the sport that should never change. I have at least five maps of every lake I've ever visited. Do I need them? No, not at all. My electronics will do me just fine. In fact they're probably better than my paper maps. (Actually, I know they are.) But that's not the point. Maps are the point. You can't fish without them, or at least you shouldn't be able to anyway. It's cultural with me.
After that, I start looking at what I think I'll need when I get to the next venue. It's as much a ritual as anything else. Packing and repacking is good for the soul. I've been doing all that — packing maps and packing and repacking tackle — for over a week now.
It's really refreshing to look at what I call northern smallmouth fishing. I love it. If there's anything you can catch that's more fun than a dark brown, northern smallie I haven't caught it, and I'm not sure I could handle it if I did. It's time to go. I've got to get this work done here at the office and then head out to the house. I need to put the finishing touches on my spinning outfits before I leave. I'll need them in July for sure.