Going West!

Before we get into the Elite season stuff, I have one final comment on the Classic. I mentioned in the last blog that I was disappointed in my poor execution, but at the same time, a poor tournament has given me a sense of God's presence in my life. It's there whether I win or have a tough time. I fully believe that He has a specific purpose and reason for where I finish in every tournament, be it first or last. I certainly want to be where He wants me to be. Sometimes He may not want me to be where I want to be, but He always provides what I need.

The problem is, sometimes what I need isn't what I want. It's easy to get those confused. That's one of the great things about fishing. It's a sport that provides you with humility, no matter the level you fish at. As people, we always need reminders of who we are and where we come from.

Having a tough tournament like that reminds me to trust in God for every detail in my life. OK, now on to new, cool stuff. This is the week before I head to California, so it's prep time. Success is directly related to how much preparation you've put into something, so I'm hitting the books, er, computer, hard. I have been spending one to two hours a day doing map studies with a cool new program.

Before I tell you about it, I want to say Navionics is not one of my sponsors. I firmly believe that this is a great tool for all fishermen; that's why I'm telling you all this. Navionics' newest HotMaps Explorer is a really cool program. It's brought my map studies to a whole new level. You can do things you can't do with a paper map. It allows me to pull up a lake — the California Delta, for example — on my screen and zoom in and out on it and study the contour lines and depth indicators. It's the same map I have in my Navionics chip in my electronics. You can actually overlay Google Maps or Google Earth so you get satellite images of the same area. I can actually import my old waypoints from previous trips onto the explorer map. I can see trails and places I fished in the past. It's incredible to see. There's no need to fly over a lake anymore. The only thing it doesn't show is the water color of the lake. It's certainly going to shorten my search time. I can go in and make notations on specific areas to make good notes during practice so I'm not wandering aimlessly on practice day. This will let me have a defined list to follow.

This is especially great for lakes like the Delta that are overwhelming from a size standpoint. One to two hours a day sounds like a lot, but the more I study that place the more I feel like I'm just scratching the surface. I'll probably feel that again once I get on the water. A bird's eye view and on the water are two totally different perspectives. This Elite tournament will be my third trip out to the Delta. The Navionics program has reminded me of how the Delta lays out and helps me remember what's where.

Before I leave for the West Coast, I've got some business locally to take care of. I'll be heading down to Houston to speak at the Bass Pro Shops in Pearland, Texas. I'll be there tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. I'll be giving a seminar at 8 p.m. about general springtime fishing and learning to maximize the spawning season.

After that, I'll be at the Katy, Texas, store tomorrow from noon to 5 p.m., giving the same seminar. I'm looking forward to doing those. While there, I'll get to catch up with a cousin I haven't seen in 28 or so years. She's living in the Houston area now, so I'm excited about getting to connect with her while I'm there. We used to be really close when we were growing up as kids, but we just lost contact over the years.

On another note, I'm beginning work on a new project I'm really excited about. I think it's something that will be enjoyable for each of you, too. Check back next week for more info.