Green shoots

Those of you who watch the news know that the economists in our country argue about whether or not there are green shoots showing up around the country. A green shoot is a small patch of growth and prosperity. It's supposed to be a sign that better things are on the way.

I'm here to tell you that I saw some green shoots this weekend. I was at the Bass Pro Shops in Cincinnati and a couple of other tackle shops in the Midwest on behalf of Venom Lures. The crowds were extraordinary. Bass Pro Shops was having their spring sale and it was packed. It was refreshing to say the least. It's one of the few times I haven't complained about having to look for a place to park. It didn't look like the high-end items were moving, but I have to say that the less expensive items were really selling.

There were crowds in front of every sale rack, especially in front of crankbaits, topwater plugs, plastics, line and hooks. There were long lines at every register. Even more heartening was the fact that I saw lots of father and son combinations. Hopefully, this is a sign that the fascination with electronic games is on the wane and that people are starting to look towards the outdoors for their recreational fun.

(Frankly, I doubt it's that extreme, but we can always hope.) Anyway, I didn't see this kind of thing last year. The crowds were thin, and the few people who were in the stores weren't buying much of anything. All they did was look.

It seems to me that things might be picking up in the fishing industry. That's a good sign for everything, I think. The harsh winter helped, no doubt. The weather here in Ohio has been awful since December, cold and snow. Most of the rest of the country has experienced the same thing, even through the Deep South. Cabin fever is rampant. Everyone wants to get out and catch a fish. That's good for the fishing industry but can be hard on fishermen. It's tough to remember that no matter how warm and sunny the weather, the water is still cold. The fish are moving slow so your bait needs to move slowly. Otherwise it looks unnatural and the fish will ignore it.

I fish all the time. I have a hard time with slowing down. I can imagine how tough it is on a youngster who's waited months to wet a line. Nevertheless, it's a requirement, not an option. Don't forget that.

That's enough for now. I still have about half of my 40-hour drive to California in front of me. Next week we'll talk about my plans for the 2010 Elite season. I'm going to make a real effort to improve this year. I'm tired of watching the Classic on my computer at work.