Falcon, puppies and the Elite schedule

This is one of those weeks when life as a bass pro is wonderful. As far as tournaments go, I’m free but I’m busy hunting and fishing. In fact, I’m down at Falcon Lake all week. I got here Monday afternoon and did something yesterday that I don’t get to do very often, and that’s go fishing by myself for half a day.

It was really a nice change. Other than practice days, there isn’t much time that I get to go out by myself. Plus, when I’m by myself in practice, I’m shaking fish off. To be on a lake like Falcon and to be alone is pretty special. But it’s funny: I didn’t go to my best places and start wearing ‘em out. I went and “practiced” a bit and looked for new water. That’s the competitor in me coming out.

Even on a lake that you know well, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to expand your horizons and try to learn more about it. I try and learn something new each time I go to one of my home lakes. It all adds up and you never know when it’ll pay off in the future.

I’m down here now with my friends Elvin Smith and Jim Swope. Check out Elvin’s 8-pounder from this morning. The pattern down here right now is that there’s not much of a pattern. It’s got a reputation as a lake that has big groups and schools of fish but right now they’re really scattered which makes it easier to come down right now and catch fish. Basically, if it looks good, throw something at it and you’ll probably catch a fish. But we’re not finding a lot of places where they’re tightly grouped and catching 50 or 60 in one spot. However, you can go down the bank fishing trees and rocks with an XCalibur Xcs square bill and a Yum Dinger and catch all the fish that you want to catch.

These guys will be down here until Thursday and then I’ve got a whole groups of friends coming in from Waco on Friday. We are going to be having our 1st Annual Cast and Blast. It’s going to be a really cool event where we’re going to fish in the mornings and dove hunt in the afternoons. Our fun meter will be absolutely pegged. We’ll be fishing here on Falcon, but we’ll be staying at a lodge about 20 miles away at a ranch called La Perla. We’ll hunt there also. It’s a 3,500-acre high-fenced ranch that has monster white-tailed deer running all over it and two 65-acre lakes that if you fished them, you wouldn’t want to fish Falcon. They’ve got fish swarming on them right now. Needless to say, it’ll be a really fun time.

I’ll probably be in hot water when I get home because I’ve left Jimmye Sue at home with 10 puppies, all of which are doing great.

They’ve about doubled in size since they were born, and even the little one that my daughter revived is doing great. We had their dew claws removed last week. It’s just a lot easier to take care of that when they’re young. I firmly believe that each of these dogs will make great hunters. My daughters have decided that we’re keeping all 10 but I’ve got news for them – we’re only keeping one.

I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want to keep any of the puppies because it wouldn’t be practical; we already travel on the road with the four of us and two labs. And now we’ll be adding a third one. But the puppies are so much fun that there’s no way I could not keep one.

As for the newly-released 2012 Elite Series schedule, I’m excited about it. I like the idea of a mystery lake. That should make it fun and keep guys from doing too much homework. I like that. I’m also looking forward to going north again; it provides an opportunity to target smallmouth, as well. Plus, lakes like Oneida give guys an opportunity to fish their strengths. Oneida is a great example of multiple techniques producing big weights: You can make the cut on smallmouth or you can do it fishing shallow like Dean Rojas does. It should be a great year!

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