ICAST - Las Vegas, NV, Jul 13 - 15, 2011

Tasty new products from ICAST

B.A.S.S.
Alton at ICAST with the new Booyah Pad Crasher frog.

ICAST (the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades annual tackle tradeshow, if you didn’t know) is always a great time not only because of all the cool new products you get to see, but because it’s like a giant family reunion. There are a lot of people who I’ve known and worked for and with over the years who are always there, and it’s great to see them. It’s really a special time for people who have been in the industry for years. And, like I said, you get to see all of the cool products that are coming out for the new year.

I’d like to share some of the products from ICAST that I’m excited about. I’m pretending to eat Booyah’s new Pad Crasher frog in the first photo. Another bait that I’m really excited about is the bigger, deeper diving Bomber BD8. It dives 19 to 20 feet. I also liked the reels from EverCast (check out the photo to the left). 

I bought six Baylor Bears-themed reels that I’m going to give away as presents this year. They make reels for many of the popular teams. I'll be using them this fall so I can still think about football even while on the water. Something else that I was really impressed with was the new Power-Pole Blade. It’s more streamlined and will anchor my boat as deep as 10 feet. Plus, it’s wireless now so the rigging will be a snap.

On the way home from that trip, Jimmye Sue and I stopped in Albuquerque, N.M., and I spoke at the New Mexico Sportsman’s banquet at the state fairgrounds. It was hosted by Sandia Baptist Church and was a fantastic event. There was a huge crowd. One of the things that I really enjoyed was a gentleman who played the guitar before I spoke; his name is Dennis Agajanian. He is a seven-time ICM Association Christian country music musician of the year winner. He’s billed as possibly having the fastest hands on the guitar in the world. Dennis, his wife, Jimmye Sue and I spent two days together and we got to know them and learn about the ministries they’re involved in. They’re truly dedicated to serving the Lord with their talent. But the coolest thing was when we were sitting on the porch at the mission listening to him jam out on his guitar! It was amazing.

Also, the folks who hosted us have a ministry called Faith Comes By Hearing. They have a free downloadable smart phone application that’s called Bible.is. It has an audio Bible in more than 500 languages. I used that on tour this year when several of the guys would get together and have a Bible study before each tournament. There are times when you can’t read your Bible, but you can always listen to it. Plus, it’s free! 

On another note, while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get voted into Toyota Trucks All-Star Week this year, I want to congratulate all 12 who will be competing. Each is well-deserving, and the tournaments should provide all of us some excitement next week. Now, I’m always looking for a silver lining, and I found a couple. Number 1 is that I achieved another level of closeness with my fans through the voting process. Me reaching out to them and them reaching back was touching and humbling. There was great support. I’m so grateful for my friends and fans, so thank you to everyone who voted not just for me but to everyone who voted.

I think that any time that we as anglers can get closer to our fans, it moves the sport forward. The sport isn’t about the pros; it’s about the fans. The other silver lining is that while I don’t get to fish in Montgomery, I get to fish at Falcon. There’s no better way comfort myself than that!

By the way, yesterday was Jimmye Sue’s birthday. While I won’t tell you how old she is, I will say that she’s younger than I am. I wish her a happy birthday, and I want to let the world know that she is and always has been the love of my life. I am so thankful that God placed her in my life.

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