I feel great. I’m really looking forward to 2016. My lip turned out to be OK. They were able to get it all with surgery so I didn’t have to do anything else much. And my shoulder is getting better every day.
In fact, right now I’m in Texas doing a little deer and hog hunting. I love this place. It’s my getaway, my relaxation. I spend about a month down here every year. The weather’s been great. But, by the time I leave I’ll be ready for the Classic. I’m already starting to think about it.
My shoulder caused me more problems last year than my lip, although the lip could have been more serious. Before they worked on it, a year ago last fall, it hurt all the time. Afterwards it was better but it still hurt. I cast left-handed even though I’m right-handed, so it was a constant kind of pain that got worse as the tournament days went along. Everything you do in fishing affects your shoulder.
To win at the Bassmaster Elite Series level, or even to be competitive, you have to go full out for seven days. I didn’t do that. I couldn’t.
Practice was the worst. I had to save myself for the tournament. Sometimes I wouldn’t cover water the way I should. I’d fish the best looking spot in a creek rather than all of it. Or, I wouldn’t throw a big crankbait because I knew that if I did I’d pay for it the next day.
We have all kinds of fancy equipment these days like GPS and Sonar, but in the end you find fish with your rod, reel, line and a lure. I couldn’t do that the way I did in the past, the way I should have.
I’m not complaining, though. All things considered I had a decent year. I managed to qualify for the Classic. That’s important, and I’m in good shape for next year. That’s a positive.
I’m really looking forward to going out to Oklahoma. The Classic’s a few days later this time so that should help with the weather. Maybe it won’t be so cold. That should make the fishing a little better. And for sure it’ll make me feel better.
The schedule looks good, too. The tournament at Bull Shoals is on my radar. That’s a good lake that has the possibility of producing some good sacks. And I love Toledo Bend. I’ve had top finishes the past two times we’ve been there so I’m pretty excited about fishing it.
The only thing I don’t like about the schedule next year is that we’re not going to any smallmouth lakes. I know about Cayuga in New York but, really, it’s a largemouth tournament. I’ve grown to love those brown bass over the years. I’d like to see more of them.
You know, I’m a big believer in positive thinking. I talk about it in seminars and presentations all the time. It’s the most important thing you can do to improve your fishing. Now it’s time for me to take my own advice, and I’m going to do that. Life is good!