Home for the holidays

I'm headed home — actually, I'll be home by the time you read this — and I couldn't be happier. Florida's nice. I love to fish her lakes, but I've been gone four weeks, without Tracey, and I miss the homestead. It's time to be home.

Early on, Tracey traveled with me almost everywhere. I never got homesick. She was with me, my business was a phone call or e-mail away, and I was nearly always fishing. Basically, life was perfect and I had no reason to miss anything. Everything I care about was with me. That's not so much true anymore. Tracey is staying home more, and I find myself feeling lonely at times, almost emotional. I sometimes wonder what's happening. Is this a sign of old age, maturity, that I'm getting soft? Not knowing exactly what the emotion is doesn't mean I don't know what it isn't, however — burnout.

A lot of the guys avoid fishing and traveling in the offseason. Their reason is that they don't want to get burned out on fishing or the sport. I guess they think they won't have fun fishing anymore. I suppose that's possible for some, but it's not possible for me. The day I left Florida, and as badly as I wanted to get home, I made a short run to a good-looking spot to catch one more bass before I left.

Fishing burnout is a foreign concept to me. I can't even imagine what it would be like. How could you not want to go fishing? What kind of a man would think like that?

Once I get home, I'll have to do so some last-minute Christmas shopping and then spend some time at Signcom. After we celebrate Christmas and New Year's, I'll head back down to Florida and get ready for the first Southern Open on Toho. It starts Jan. 20. If everything goes as planned, I should have at least two weeks of practice for it. I'll use every minute of every day. I want a win! Florida has been good to me over the years. Some of my most memorable moments in fishing have happened down there. In fact, I think so much of it I've been thinking about making it my winter home. It offers just about everything I want and need, except for smallmouth bass. And I can take care of that need by traveling to Lake Erie in the summertime. It's no farther from Erie to Florida than it is from Florida to Erie. All I'd have to do is point the truck in the opposite direction and settle in for the drive.

That's about enough of my musings about my life for one blog. You guys have a good Christmas, and make sure you tell your wife, kids and extended family members how much you love them and how much you miss them when you're apart.