The time since the Classic has been the calm before the storm at the Jones house. I always seem to need a little cooling down time after an event as big as the Classic because it drains you so much emotionally and physically. Usually I’ll need three or four days to recharge, but this time all it took was a day or so. The reason is that I have a bad case of cabin fever. But, the Classic was a success in my book.
It’s always a little disappointing when you come up short when you’re gunning for a win, but at the same time I have to realize that fourth place is still a good finish. I fished clean; as good as I can. The fact is that Chris Lane just beat us all. I want to give a huge congratulations to Chris for his win.
I’ve got to know him over the past few years, as his family camps near us in an RV. I’ve come to learn that Chris truly is a great man. It was amazing watching on TV how he won that tournament. I guess what I mean by that is that he put together a very complex game plan. Usually when you have a plan that complex it falls apart or backfires, but he was able to execute it to perfection. Seeing the details of his strategy amazed me, and kudos to him for pulling it off. I know he’s going to be a great champion for our sport.
With the Classic over, I’m super-pumped for the Elites to kick off. Some of the reason may be the momentum coming off of a good Classic, and the other part is that the Florida stretch last year was a good stretch of events for me. Plus, springtime fishing is always good to me. Practice on the St. Johns River can’t come fast enough.
I haven’t been to Florida since the Elite events last year, so I’m ready to go. I have been spending a lot of time in the garage organizing by boat. The Florida lakes won’t fish that much different that the Red River. We’ll be fishing a lot of shallow water, vegetation and heavy cover. But some of the stuff I took to Shreveport won’t apply. Medium- and deep-diving crankbaits won’t be needed. Packing will be a little bit more of a challenge for me simply because we’re not taking the motor home to this event. We’ll be renting a house while we’re down there. Why? My wife and my daughters will fly home after the St. Johns River, and it doesn’t make sense for me to drive the bus all by myself to Okeechobee.
They’re coming home because my daughter, Kristen, is a part of the Waco Symphony Belles. While I’m at Okeechobee, they’re having their banquet ball. I really hate that I’m going to miss that. I’m very proud of her, though. She is the perfect model of a daughter: she’s responsible, makes good decisions, has the right kind of friends, is respectful and obedient. I want her to know how proud I am of her and how bad I feel that I’m going to miss her big day.
By the way, I’ll be posting several updates during each tournament on my Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/altonjonesfishing. Check it out!
Oh, I also want to say congratulations to my mother- and father-in-law, Sue and Jim Brusenhan. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. We went out to Coleman, Texas, and celebrated with them. Their marriage has been a great model for Jimmye Sue and I, and I want to thank them for everything they’ve done for us as a family.