Looking beyond Green Bay

Man, am I looking forward to the next couple of weeks.

For starters, I’ll get to enjoy a good break over the Fourth of July with family and friends. The Fourth is a great time to live in Michigan and to spend time outside.

The next week I head to the ICAST (The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show, the annual sportfishing tackle trade show. This year it will be held in Orlando instead of Las Vegas, the latter of which has hosted the show for the past few years.

The good thing about Orlando is I get to take the family to Disney for a day; and while the boys are getting older, you’re never too old to enjoy the parks of Disney World.

I’ll get to do a little fishin’ there, too; I will be taking a B.A.S.S. sweepstakes winner fishing on one of the Disney lakes that is chock-full of bass.

But the primary purpose of being in Orlando is to work the tackle show, something I look forward to every year. After all, what angler doesn’t love looking at new fishing tackle!

I’m one of the biggest tackle fanatics you’ll ever meet, and there’s no better place to be than the ICAST show.

It’s closed to the public because it’s designed to give tackle retailers, wholesalers and the outdoor media the opportunity to see products for 2013. Several of those products will still be in the prototype stage and won’t appear on your local tackle store shelves until later this year.

I’m especially excited about several new products coming from my sponsors. Strike King is rolling out several new lures, a few of which I have been heavily involved in designing. There are a few lures that have been in the works for years, and I’m anxious to see how the market responds to them.

(Coincidentally, I’ll be fishing some of those lures here at the Green Bay tournament on Lake Michigan.)

ICAST is a busy time with a tight schedule, not only for me, but for several of my Bassmaster Elite Series buddies who will be working for their sponsors as well. Some of us get together during the evening and attend sponsor functions or simply go out to dinner with our wives and talk about the goodies we saw that day.

It’s a major media event, too, attracting print, digital and electronic media from all over the country and some from overseas. I’ll be doing interviews and new product videos for websites and social media.

I’ve never left an ICAST Show when I didn’t come away with a great feeling about being in this business and excited about new products on the horizon. The economy may be sagging, but there’s always an upbeat attitude at the tackle show!

When it ends, Sherry, I and the boys are heading over to Myrtle Beach to spend time with Davy and Natalie Hite. Davy is one of my road roommates (along with Scott Rook), and it’s always good to spend time relaxing away from a tournament.

After that, it will be time to refocus on the Elite Series and the last event of the year at Oneida Lake, N.Y., a place that always provides rod bending action and exciting tournaments.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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