TAVARES, Fla. -- Whoa on the hangin' a bit here, need to be bustin' on someone for a second.
Check this out ... I get up at 5 a.m., then again at 5:15, 5:20, 5:30 and so on till about 6 when I finally jump up out of bed since I'm almost technically late (almost technically because if I set the alarm clock for the right time to get up and I hit the snooze button on the right time to get up, then I'm not late because I got up at the right time by hitting the button on time).
Threw some stuff on -- some of which matches, some of which matched in 1968 -- jump into my speed-limited rental car (fixed so it will only go 80 mph, which pretty much takes all the sense out of it being a rental car in the first place) and head to the launch.
Now you should know if you are into facts, launch today was at 7:30 a.m. ... something I forgot pretty much around the third beverage last nite.
So I'm going down this back road, pretty much seeing if the speed-challenged rental car, was truly that, when suddenly in the middle of the almost completely dark road ... something is standing right about where I'm going through. Hit the brakes, lock them up, dial State Farm.
And I stop 2 feet before a massive insurance increase, get my glasses off the floor, and follow my headlights to ...
... an upright vacuum cleaner being all upright right in the middle of the road. Eureka, I think, not sure the model.
So, whoever was vacuuming the road last night ... we need to talk.
Back to hangin' ... couple years ago I was here in this exact spot for a Bass Federation Nation Championship and took a picture of a man and his grandson at the weigh-in.
Turns out the guy, Dean Morris is here again ... this time as a Marshal who went out today with Derek Remitz. Dean, an ex-Navy SeaBee, lives here on Little Lake Harris and just last week ran a tournament himself ... for kids.
The young anglers ranged from 3 ½ (his young grandson E4 ... 4th generation Eddie Hook) to 12.
"Me and my grandson E4 were the only two fishing for bass ... but at the end, all the kids get a trophy."
Thanks Dean, and to all of you out there who take kids fishing.
Got photos of two new rookies to the Elites ... Brandon Palaniuk, who is younger than the socks I have on ... and Lee Sisson who is ... not.
Going to do stories with both of them soon, both have some pretty neat things in their past, except Brandon's past is a lot quicker than Lee's past. I'd give you a hint but I don't want other reporter types jumping my story.
One last thing to all the rookies new to the tour this year ... look at this photo of James Niggemeyer working on his tackle way past dark. All I have to say is this ...
... welcome to the BIGS.
And know this, if you are here, you better give it your all.
It's not enough.
Don Barone is an award-winning outdoors writer and a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Guild of the U.K. You can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com.