New Year's is a good time to both reflect on the past year and look ahead to the upcoming year. So many great things have happened over the past 12 months that it's hard to believe. I'd like to take the time to thank God, my incredible family, the best sponsors in the sport, my friends and all the fans of our great sport.
As I look back over my fishing year of 2012, it's hard to miss the three main highlights, including two tournament victories and the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of Year title. Really, those were a couple of my main goals for my career, and I accomplished them all in one year. The year flew by, except for the month before the final tournament. It seems like just yesterday I was prepping for the first event on cold Lake Lewisville and then the Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport.
I finished the year with a bang today. I finally got a buck —a Kansas nine-pointer. For most of the country that's a trophy. Here in Kansas it's a good deer, but not quite the trophy I had hoped. I had almost given up on getting a quality deer and, on the last day of the season, my perseverance finally paid off.
This year's hunt reminds me of the Lake Okeechobee event from earlier this year. I had high hopes going into that event, and halfway through the first day I had nothing. I didn't lose hope and kept fishing hard. By the time the day was over, I had a good bag and went on to have a good tournament. That day and the fact that I kept my head and fished hard could have been the catalyst that lined up the rest of the season.
As I look ahead to 2013, there are a lot of things that excite me. First, I have a near-home-lake tournament with the Bassmaster Classic. Who would have thought that we'd have a Classic on one of the bodies of water where I learned to fish?
Also, in 2013 I have some new sponsors, a new boat wrap and a new jersey. I can't go into detail yet, but we will be announcing that soon.
It'll also be exciting to go out and attempt to defend the Angler of the Year title. We've got a bigger field, some new hungry anglers, and many of the same anglers that made the AOY title so hard to get in 2012. It'll be a tough title to defend, but I'm excited about the challenge.
I've already begun prepping for the 2013 season, but there's still much to do. Last year, my preparation including working out with Travis Perret of FelixFishing.com and there's no doubt that it paid off. We're working hard already, and I know that it will help me again this season.
Last, I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year, and good luck to all the anglers' wives as they head to South Florida to run the Ragnar Relay race. I'd love to join them, but I'm headed to the Henry's Tackle Dealer Show in North Carolina. After that, I'll be at the Kansas City Sports Show.
The New Year is going to be a busy one!