Checking out the Red River

I’m home now getting ready for Thanksgiving and spending a week or so with the family. I love my job but a few days off isn’t a bad thing either, especially when you’ve had a busy year like I have.

Last week I spent two and a half days in Shreveport checking out the Red River and doing some early prep work for the 1012 Bassmaster Classic. That might sound crazy because I know a fair amount about the Red River. I’ve fished it since my Federation days back in 1998. Still, it’s a river. The only constant is change.

When I say checking it out that’s exactly what I mean. I fished two hours while I was there, maybe not that much. The other 24 or 26 hours I was on the water I spent glued to my Lowrance screen. I’m always amazed at how rivers change. Sandbars are never in the same place; stumps materialize and disappear seemingly at random; vegetation grows and dies in the strangest places. Even the channel moves a little bit.

There’s no way to find all that stuff without running around — actually I idled most of the time — marking and analyzing it. One thing that helped me, though, was the low water. It was down a few inches so I got to see things I normally wouldn’t have a clue about. That, in and of itself, was worth the trip.

To be fair, I don’t know that what I learned will directly help me in February. The water is likely to be much higher, much colder, and the structure and cover will have changed by then. For sure, it’ll be different. Nevertheless, the more you know about a place the more likely it is that you’ll catch a bunch of fish.

I also spent a half-day with the local chambers of commerce. We did some TV promotional spots, local TV and radio interviews, photo shoots and stuff like that. We also worked on The Bass University school that’s going to be held there in January. It was time well-spent. I enjoy helping promote our sport. It’s a part of why I fish.

Before I go I want to take a minute this week to say thanks for all I have but most especially for my family. Without Becky and the kids I’d be nothing — and have nothing — regardless of how many fish I caught or how much financial success I might have.

That doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for those things, too. I am. It’s just that we all need to keep our priorities in line. What would it mean to catch a bunch of fish or win a big tournament and not have Becky and the kids back home?  Hopefully, you can say the same thing.

Have a good Thanksgiving, enjoy the time with your family and then get out on the water and catch some bass. We’ll talk again next week.

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