Headed back to Florida

I’m headed back to Florida for a week

The Fourth of July holiday is over. We celebrated our country’s birthday by spending five days on Lake Guntersville with the family, the in-laws as well as the Martens family. It was fun. We went swimming, went kneeboarding and generally played around all day long. It was a much needed break from tournament competition. But that was last week.

This week it’s back to Florida — I always say it that way because I lived there so long I think of going there as going “back” — to go to work for my sponsors at the ICAST tackle show. I’ll spend time with all of them, at least all of them that are there. Naturally, a lot of that time will be with Power-Pole, but not all of it.

Luck “E” Strike, Gambler, Pure Fishing, Snag Proof, Lowrance and T-H Marine will be there with their new products and I’ll be helping them out as well. It’s really something I look forward to every year. It’s a chance to meet with people face-to-face and talk about things without a lot of pressure. That’s something that helps both sides.

I can tell them candidly what’s going on with their products. The B.A.S.S. Elite Series is almost over so I’ve had a chance to fish their products under all sorts of different conditions and put everything under the stress of professional bass fishing at the highest level.

If things are made right, it shows. If they need improvement, that shows. It’s the way we get everything right. We take that seriously. No one wants recreational anglers to have problems, least of all me or my sponsors. We respect the fact that they buy our lures and equipment. The way we show that respect is by producing the best there is available. Nothing less will do.

After that it’ll be time to start thinking about the Oneida event. I don’t have to tell you how serious I’m taking that one. As of right now I’m sitting in 14th-place in the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year standings. I need to move up and secure a spot in the postseason. The thing is, though, it doesn’t all depend on me.

A quick look at the names in front of me and you’ll know what I mean. The list reads like a Who’s Who of bass fishing. It reads that way because that’s what it is. These guys are the best. They know how to catch them under pressure and they aren’t likely to falter, and they don’t choke. It just doesn’t happen.

One thing that’s pretty cool, though, is that my brother Bobby is right behind me. He’ll be looking at doing the same thing. I like that. If I’ve got somebody on my tail I’d rather it be him. At least if I get beat it’ll be by somebody I love. In a perfect world we’ll both move up and then face each other later. That’s what I’m really hoping for but we all know the world isn’t always perfect.

Next week we’ll talk about a kid’s camp I’ll be doing in the near future.

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