I'm in Kansas this week with my brother-in-law, Russ Campbell, for more hunting. We lease land there with some other friends, and it gives us a change of scenery. Don't get me wrong. I love hunting in Michigan with family and friends, but there's something special about doing hunting trips like this in the late season. It's fun to hunt new places.
This is a very special week for me — the opening of gun deer season. In Michigan, opening day is treated like a holiday, especially in rural areas where some kids are excused from school to go hunting, and several of my friends either spend a work vacation day or call in "sick."
Anglers who love hunting as much as I do will be impressed with the Tundra Sportsman. It's purely a conceptual vehicle (meaning it's not for sale at this time), but it demonstrates what you can do to a Tundra. You will see one at a Bass Pro Shops near you, as the vehicle will be displayed at several stores around the country this winter.
After a week of hanging out at home, spending a little time in the woods, getting ready for winter and taking the kids trick or treating, I'm back on the road. I flew to Las Vegas Monday for the SEMA Show to work with my vehicle sponsor, Toyota Trucks, who is rolling out a special exhibit there.
It's funny how anglers can get so geeked up about an upcoming fishing trip that we play it out in our minds as to how we're going to catch them. When I'm headed out on a fun fishing trip to a place I haven't been for awhile, I have an idea of how I think — and hope — I'm going to catch them. But it doesn't always work out that way.
This is a special week for me. It's time to go smallmouth fishing in northern Michigan. I feel sorry for my bass fishing buddies who live in the South and don't get to experience what we enjoy every fall. Let me put it in perspective: Michigan's fall smallmouth fishing is like the first day of deer season, the opening of the NFL and your birthday all wrapped in one. It's that extraordinary.
Now they're even. Last year, Nicholas shot his first deer with a gun before Jackson. Both boys got deer during gun season, but Nicholas was first. Well, last weekend, Jackson shot his first buck with a bow before Nicholas. Don't get me wrong. We don't promote competition between the boys, but there's always a little razzing and one-upmanship that goes on between brothers, especially 13-year-old twins.
I began the 21-hour journey home on Monday after a three-and-half week tour around the country doing promotions, working with media and competing in the Toyota Texas Bass Classic held last weekend on Lake Conroe.
It's vitally important to expand on that fishing style and become more versatile if you want to improve as an angler, but that can be tough to do. How do you go about learning new techniques and new baits?
Last week's travel took me to a Texas ranch outside of Dallas where I met with Strike King personnel and media people for a few days of product testing, story interviews, photo sessions and some great bass fishing. Other pros in our group were Greg Hackney, my nephew Jonathon VanDam, Mark Menendez, James Niggemeyer and Mark Davis.