The first Northern Open?

I’m down in Tennessee — it’s “down” when you live in Ohio — getting ready for tomorrow’s Northern Open on Lake Douglas in Sevierville, Tennessee. It’s a Northern Open but I have to tell you that it doesn’t feel like one. It’s been hotter than the devil the last few days and it’s supposed to go into the 90s by the end of the week.

I’m partial to the real, honest-to-goodness northern stuff. That would be the big lakes in Michigan, Wisconsin and maybe New York where there are huge schools of giant smallmouth. That part of our country feels more northern.

I’m not really complaining, mostly just messing with B.A.S.S. It’s better here than in a lot of places. I mean, this lake is full of big bass. You have to fish really deep if you’re going to catch them, though. When I say deep I’m talking about going down into water in the 40-foot range.

That’s not easy to do. The water’s up here and, despite the heat, there’s a feeling of spring in the air. Look around and all you see are flooded bushes along every shoreline and back in every cove. It’s almost impossible not to fish them. It all looks like perfect bass habitat. They’re holding a few fish, too, just not enough to get a check or bring home a trophy and a Classic invite.

A lot of the guys are strolling big, deep diving crankbaits. I’ve been doing some of that but I have to admit it’s a lot of work. My preference is to drag heavy jigs along the breaks and over points.

That’s the Douglas fishing story as of today.

Now I want to mention the service crews. They worked all during the Memorial Day weekend. That was a good thing for me. I had a problem that needed fixed. They took care of it in just a couple of hours.

The service that these guys provide, especially Mercury and Minn Kota, is truly extraordinary. I hope everyone thinks about that when they buy equipment. Let’s face it: Anything that’s made by man will break or need repairs from time to time. There’s no replacing a company that stands behind their products and takes care of their customers. Well done, guys.

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend, and I hope that everyone took a few minutes out of their day to think about, and say thanks to, the men and women who gave their lives so that we could live in freedom.

Sometimes it seems like I hear a lot of negative stuff about this country. That’s been happening more lately, I think. It’s right and appropriate that we stop and think about how good we have it. I’m not so much talking about fishing. Rather, I’m talking about the overall quality of our life.

Do I agree with everything that’s going on in America? Of course I don’t. Sometimes I get so mad at the government and the legal system that I can’t see straight. But then I quickly realize that I would have a lot more to get mad about if I lived somewhere else.

God bless America!

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