It's been awhile

I haven't been fishing since the season's been over, and I'm really feeling the need to get on the water. This may be the longest period I can remember that I haven't been fishing. I think it's been something like three weeks.

I was planning on going to Falcon soon, but that's been washed out. Literally. If you've seen the news, there are huge floods around Laredo, Texas. All that water is going into Lake Falcon. Like I said last week, Falcon is one of those lakes that gets worse as the water rises. The shoreline brush is too thick to get into, and that's where the fish go when the water is up. I think these floods will have it messed up for a while. I am still planning a trip down there, but I'm going to wait until these floods settle down and the water level stabilizes.

One thing this'll give me a chance to do is fish a new Lake Falcon. I've never fished it when it is full. Last year I didn't get to go until the water starting coming back down. The high water there will give me a chance to explore some new areas that I couldn't access before. So that'll be fun.

In the meantime, I've got to make other fishing plans. I'll probably resort to fishing private waters here in a little bit. I've got some friends around here that I need to take out. When you're taking people out, you really want to put them on a sure thing, so private waters are the best way to do that. I've been real fortunate and have access to some really good ponds.

In fact, Saturday, August 7, I'll be speaking at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas, on private lakes. It's a banquet for anglers, landowners, property association owners or anyone who has a pond on their land or wants to learn a thing or two about conservation. There will be biologists speaking as well as folks from the Fisheries Center. It'll be a full day deal, and I'll be speaking at the dinner that night. It's open to anyone who wants to attend. Registration costs $15 and it gets you lunch and dinner. Plus, it goes to a good cause.

The Fisheries Center does a lot of good things. Besides the ShareLunker Program, they have done more with introducing kids to fishing to the sport than anyone else I know. They spent several million dollars on an educational building, and it's first-rate. Thousands of kids come through their program each year, and there are facilities on the property where a lot of kids catch their first fish. It's a really great cause. Trying to figure out how to make our sport grow has been a challenge for years, and the Freshwater Fisheries Center has found some innovative ways to move the needle in the right direction.

Next week is ICAST, and I'm getting really excited. I'll be there for Ardent reels but I will certainly take time to do some reconnaissance while I'm there. I'm always looking for that next new thing. I want to be on the leading edge of new product innovations, be it a new lure, rod or what have you. It'll be fun seeing what folks come up with. Next week I'll share with you all some of my favorite things when I'm there.

Today, however, I'm having lunch with one of the pastors from my church to reconnect with him. He's a relatively new assistant pastor, and I haven't really had a good chance to get to know him so I'm looking forward to that. I want to get back into serving the Lord and ministry this offseason since it's longer than usual. It can be challenging to keep up with things on the home front while you're on the road, so I'm going to take advantage of this time off.

Oh, another thing I've been doing since the season ended is spend time with my dogs, especially my 2-year-old puppy Grace. It's almost dove season and I'm working with her 15 minutes a day to get her in shape for that. It's amazing how much she retains when I'm fishing and can't work with her, and how quickly she gets back into it. I love to bird hunt. But, for me it's as much as about the experience with the dog as it is shooting the birds. There's a special bond between a hunter and his dog. Watching her be excited about hunting is probably 75 percent of the fun for me, maybe 90 percent. Stay tuned next week when I'll update you all from the ICAST floor!