This week I got another reminder of how cool it was to win the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. I was given a guitar — a special guitar — handmade by the students of Wood Shop Rocks in California. I had heard a little about it back in 2009 when Skeet Reese got one of these guitars, but I had no idea I would ever get one.
I wish I knew more about the program — I plan to learn more soon — but here's some of what I've gathered. A wood shop teacher in Northern California named Duane Calkins started this program around 2005. The program takes high school students and teaches them how to use their hands, complete a project and even learn to play some music.
It sounds like a great program, and it’s really a neat thing to be a recipient of these young adults' hard work. I feel honored and although I don't play a guitar (yet!), I might have to learn. I did catch Mason (my son) eyeing it, and I expect him to be asking for guitar lessons soon. Maybe we'll learn to play the guitar together. I'd like to give a huge thanks to the Wood Shop Rocks students and Mr. Calkins for their hard work on this gorgeous guitar.
Also this week I had the chance to do seminars at three Bass Pro Shops over three days during their spring fishing event. Traveling with Randy Howell, we drove over 900 miles in three days to visit BPSes in Springfield, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. I enjoyed going back to Tulsa and getting to meet some people I missed at the Classic. That city had Classic fever, and I think they're already hoping for another Classic. I surely wouldn't mind another crack at Grand Lake with the Classic trophy on the line.
I also saw that there was a Grand Lake record bass caught this weekend. I saw some pictures of it, and it's a true giant. A fish like that could have changed the Classic leaderboard around very quickly. I always knew Grand had giants, but wow, that fish was huge. I hope to see some fish like that in a couple of weeks down at Lake Falcon.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up in most of the states, I wanted to take the time to pass along some advice. Here are a few things you should do before taking your boat out for the first trip of the year.
Check your batteries, you can test them yourself with a tester or take them into an auto parts store and have them checked. Nothing can ruin a day faster than bad batteries. I'd even crank the big motor up one time before heading to the lake, but don't run it.
Next, be sure to check you lower unit lubricant and make sure it hasn't leaked out over the winter months. If you have left your boat sitting with gas in it, as most of us do, be sure to mix in some fuel stabilizer before the first trip as well.
Lastly (and this one takes some time), go through your boat and trailer and make sure all the nuts and bolts and anything else that could come loose is nice and tight.
By taking a few minutes and double-checking these quick items you can insure your first trip to the lake is a good one.