What a relief!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

My verse of the week reminds me that God is in control, even when things in life take us by surprise. I take heart in that.

Going into the St. Johns River, I had high hopes of making a good finish and getting a good start to the season. I felt like I learned a lot last year that would help me this year, but I didn’t dream that I’d walk away from there with an Elite Series win. Winning this last event is really an indescribable feeling.

It’s a mix of emotions; in a way, it’s bittersweet because Todd Faircloth finished second, and he’s one of my close friends. I wish there was a way that we could both win. But Todd’s a young guy, and he’s got lots of wins coming.

The St. Johns tournament was a lot of fun, and the key for me was managing my fish. What I mean by that is that I left the males in place on the beds. I didn’t have to worry about a lot of competitors coming in and taking them in for their limit. The place I caught most of my fish is one of the same areas I fished last year, and it was a community hole. There were at least a dozen boats who fished it, but no one really keyed on it.

This week we’re down at Lake Okeechobee, and it’s been windy. The forecast is calling for more of the same. However, there are some places that aren’t fishable because of the wind.

This is the first B.A.S.S. tournament in 14 years that I’ve fished without my family being with me. Jimmye Sue and the girls had to fly home after the St. Johns River event, so I’m staying with Scott Ashmore.

It’s been nice getting to know him. We found out that we had a lot of things in common; it’s always nice making new friends out here.

Last week I said that all Elite guys are all tied in theToyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, but that’s not the case now! It’ll be tight all year I think because there are no bonus points for a win or finishing high; it’s one point per one place. That’s the way it should be.

Something that has been a good relief for me is having punched my ticket for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. I’m already fishing more relaxed because the Classic isn’t on the line. I can go for a win more aggressively now.

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