Getting ready for the 2013 Elite season

I’m in Columbus trying to get everything ready for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season. It starts in just a few days, you know. The sport and tackle shows are winding down, at least in my neighborhood. It makes me sad to say that. They’re one of the highlights of my life.

If I tell you about a couple of the local tackle shop shows I’ve been to recently, you’ll understand why. Most of our day was spent talking about bass fishing. It was question after question on an endless number of subjects. At its core, though, it’s always about how to catch more fish and have more fun on the water.

That’s what I’m about so that means that I’m having as much fun as the recreational anglers are having. To tell you the truth, I might be having more. I’m hopeless. I can’t get enough of this sport no matter what I do or how often I do it.

The shows are good for your confidence, too. With my selective memory — I only remember the good — I relive the highpoints of everything. That gets my attitude and my head in shape for the new season. And the new season is always filled with hope and promise.

The shows also remind you that even when you’re struggling you still have it pretty darn good. I don’t think I met anyone who wouldn’t trade places with me. It’s their dream to be a professional bass angler, and it’s mine. The thing is I’m lucky enough to be doing it. I try never to forget that regardless of whether I’m doing well or struggling.

Stephen Browning and Matt Herren were at some of the shows with me. That’s always a treat. Both are nice guys so everyone has a good time telling stories, reliving events and teasing each other. That’s good for the fans as well. They get to see a small piece of who we are; at the same time, they get different perspectives from each of us when they ask questions.

I noticed something else this year that makes me smile from ear to ear. The local circuits are filling up fast. In the past that’s taken a while but this year there seems to be a different attitude. Everyone wants to get involved. I think (hope) that’s a reflection that things are generally getting better with the economy.

But that’s all over, for this year anyway. I’ll miss it but I have to be honest and say that I’m ready to head for Texas. It’s snowing like crazy up here today, and we just finished a nine day stretch without any sunlight. That’s forever if you’re living in the middle of it.

There’s not much else going on right now. I’ll be packing tackle over the weekend and heading toward the Sabine River. I’m excited about that. It’s a new venue for most of us. That tends to open up the field a little bit. We’ll talk more about that next week.

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