Every reason to be thankful

Each year the months seem to pass more quickly. At 12 years old, the months between the start of school and Thanksgiving seemed to take forever. Now the gap is spanned in the blink of an eye.

This year has proceeded at a record pace. The past 11 months started with a trip to Okeechobee (bringing me up to 26 lakes on Bassmaster’s list of the Top 100), followed shortly thereafter by my first trip to Oklahoma for the Grand Lake Classic. I started the summer with a trip to El Salto, the bass angler’s Disneyland, and a month later headed to Lake Michigan (#29) to chase big smallheads.

While we were in the Upper Peninsula, my wife landed two 5-pound-plus smallmouths, while I “only” caught 4-pounders until my thumb bled. That gets a tongue-in-cheek boo and a hiss, until I remember that I should feel fortunate to have a wife who loves to fish almost as much as I do – on the whole, score one for my ability to marry up.

I know that the “this is what I’m thankful for” column at this time of year is a little bit clichéd and perhaps more often than not a bit contrived, but I’m going to go on with it anyway. If you’d told me 30 years ago, when I got my first issue of Bassmaster, that one day I’d write for that magazine, get an opportunity to fish with many of the best fishermen on earth (on many of the best lakes on earth) and own a $500 rain suit, I wouldn’t have believed you. Now that I’ve done all of those things, and more, it’s easy to take the smaller stuff for granted. Here in the bass fishing punditocracy, we (myself included) often dwell on the negative or the controversial – there’s a right time to accentuate the positive, even just little things that would otherwise fall through the cracks.

Accordingly, here are 10 things I’m thankful for as 2013 comes to a close:

  1. The brutal honesty of Kevin Short and Ish Monroe.
  2. I have a bass boat that runs faster than I dare to drive it and two Power Poles that will keep it in place longer than my ADD-addled trolling motor foot will allow me on my own.
  3. Gore-Tex (this one makes the list every year).
  4. I wasn’t faced with the decision of whether to run through the Alabama rapids.
  5. Charlie Hartley’s perpetual good attitude and clean floor mats.
  6. This year, more than ever before, I got to listen to more of what makes A-Mart … A-Mart.
  7. Senkos.
  8. Mark Zona trusts my discretion enough that he doesn’t censor his text messages.
  9. For the fourth straight year, James Overstreet and I had a front row seat for the Classic winner’s clinching fish.
  10. Having survived the Grand Lake Classic, I fully expect Guntersville to require fewer layers.

After a year as the self-described “voice of the fan,” I’m relishing my ability to make some small contribution to the world of bass fishing. I hope you’ll continue to read my columns and comment, even when you disagree.