When I was a kid

This year we had a wonderful Christmas. I can’t remember ever having a better one except maybe when I was a kid. I got to spend time with the family, relax and open several really neat presents. One of the best ones was from Abu Garcia.

When I was a kid we’d — I had two brothers and two sisters — run down to the tree on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. For them it was mass confusion. They had to read tags and check to see that they were tearing apart the right pile. Not me. I knew exactly which ones were mine as soon as I saw the tree. (It’s hard to disguise a fishing pole.)

This year was much the same. Abu Garcia sent me a set of their new rods. They call them the Villain. Are they ever great! They’re lightweight, strong and very sensitive. Thanks to a mild winter I even got to try them out at the local pond Monday, the day after Christmas.

They worked fine but I can’t say much about their fish fighting ability. Because of heavy rains and really muddy water I didn’t catch anything. When I get back to Florida I’ll give you an update. I don’t think you’ll need one, though. I can tell you from experience that they’re first-class. Abu Garcia’s been around for a long time. That’s no accident.

All I need now are my new Revo MGX reels and I’ll be good to go. They’re supposed to be as good as the new rods. Heck, they only weigh 5.4 ounces. That’s nothing compared with what we fished with in the old days.

No doubt this new stuff will help me next year but it won’t solve all of my issues. If I want to go to another Classic I’ve got to learn to stop fishing. That’s right, stop fishing. You see I’m a darn good bass angler. I’m just not as good a tournament angler as I could be. It’s all about my approach, the mental side of my game. I have to learn how to compete and then go fishing later.

Mark Davis had it exactly right in his most recent post, Master Series on Tournaments. Technically, his article was about fishing one day tournaments but the overall lesson wasn’t lost on me. This sport is about weight, not numbers. Go catch big ones. You can have all the fun you want catching 2-pounders on topwater plugs but that won’t get you a check and it certainly won’t get you a berth in the Bassmaster Classic.

Of course, it’s easy to talk that way when you’re writing a column for the Internet. The proof of what I’m saying will come when I launch my boat the first morning of the first Open down in Florida. Then we’ll know if I’m walking the walk, or just talking the talk. I really hope I have the mental strength to walk the walk.

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