'Bama bound!

Well, we were home just long enough to unpack, do the laundry then repack. Now it's time to hit the road again. Preparation this time is a little bit more in-depth. First of all, we're taking the motor home. I had to downsize what I was taking to Florida, and now I can upsize and take the whole tackle store again. It will be nice to get back to the normal routine that we've been used to for so many years.

Jimmye Sue and I will be heading out separately this time. I'm going to be leaving really early Wednesday morning for West Point Lake in Georgia to scout and look around a little bit because I've never laid eyes on West Point Lake. I think that anytime you've got a fishery you've never seen, you need to put in a little time and learn where the boat ramps are and get a feel for the personality of the lake.

On this trip, I'm really not trying to find fish. But I will probably fish a bit because they'll most likely be on beds. It's hard for me to pass by a fish on a bed without at least pitchin' in there. I'll be on the water Thursday and Friday, and then Friday evening I'll leave and head to Pickwick. Jimmye Sue will be driving the motor home and will meet me there.

One other note: My good friend Pat Curry is going to be joining me on my prefishing trip to West Point. It'll be nice to get together again. Pat's got his own plane and will be on a business trip to Minneapolis, so he'll call me on Wednesday to see where I am, and then he'll have his pilot set him down at the nearest airport and then he'll ride with me the rest of the way.

Pat loves to fish, and he's done quite a bit of it, but he wants to take his fishing to the next level. It's always fun for me when I get someone like that in the boat because they ask a lot of good questions that get me thinking on a different level. So, he should be a good fishing buddy for West Point, like he is everywhere.

As far as tackle preparation goes, I had to de-Floridize (is that a word?) my boat. That means that a lot of soft plastics had to come out. When I go to Florida, I put a lot of extra soft plastics in and take a lot of hard baits out, because springtime there means I can rely heavily on them. When I go to Alabama, I still keep some soft plastics in there, but I've also got to be a lot more versatile in my selection. I'm putting a lot of square bill crankbaits in — like XCalibur's XCS100 — as well as topwaters and spinnerbaits and all sorts of moving baits. It probably took three hours to get everything re-rigged for Alabama.

I got to do something really fun this week. I fished the same lake that we caught 365 bass on last year. We didn't do quite that well, but we did catch 237! My hands had just healed from the Florida tournaments, but now they're torn up again. We auctioned the trip off to benefit the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. I was fishing with my new good friends Steve Dumler and Ken Addington. We had an absolute ball. Speaking of my hands, Pickwick will be another painful one as 100-fish days are common there.

By next week's entry, I'll have two days of practice under my belt and will have some things to report. Leading the Angler of the Year race going into the second leg of this season makes it really exciting and makes me want to pour everything I have into it.

Stay tuned! 

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