A new year, a new beginning

It’s the first day of a new year. It’s one of my most favorite times because it signals that in the fishing world everything that’s gone before is over. From here on out everything will be fresh and new.

The bass will spawn and then they’ll go into the postspawn. From there, they head to their summer holding areas. After that, it’s the fall feeding frenzy and then winter. They’ve done that same thing for a thousand years but, still, it’s fresh this time. What happened last year is of no consequence.

And so it is with anglers. Last year doesn’t matter. What was done is in the past. We all start with a clean slate. Somehow, that seems right. No one should rest on their record, good or bad.

I suppose you could say I feel that way because I had a tough year, actually more than one tough year. That might be true on some level but there’s more to it than that. When you start every year from scratch is renews your sense of purpose and it renews your drive to succeed.

That’s the feeling I have as I look towards the 2014 schedule. The first Open is in the third week of January on Toho. I couldn’t be happier with that. I’m ready to go. Somehow my struggles don’t seem to matter right now. I have the angler’s mentality — just one more cast. The big one is right by that clump of grass.

I also have a sense of renewal about our sport. It’s no secret that the Great Recession hurt us, real bad. It’s been a serious struggle to come back. But, I notice that Geico is going to sponsor our Classic. That can’t be anything other than positive.

The only thing I’m concerned about is that I haven’t seen any assurances from them that Martin (the Gecko lizard) or Maxwell (the pig) will be in Birmingham. Do you think I have reason to worry?

On a more serious note, we also have Allstate sponsoring the Opens. That’s equally good news. They’re a major player in the insurance industry.

Having both of these companies, as well as all the other great companies that sponsor us, tells the rest of America’s business community that we — B.A.S.S., its anglers, its members, its fans — have something to offer. We buy insurance, drink soda, drive trucks and all that sort of thing as well as buy fishing equipment and tackle.

Congratulations to whoever was responsible for getting these guys onboard. Over time, it’ll be good for everyone.

And that brings me to my final point about 2014. Take a few minutes to look around this site, as well as our magazines, and make note of who our sponsors are and what they have to offer. When it’s possible use their services and buy their products. They make B.A.S.S., and bass fishing, possible.

That thought applies to the angler’s sponsors, too. They’re putting their money up front. The least we can do is support them. Hey, you have to spend it somewhere. It may as well go where it will do some good.

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