Looking forward to Norman

We got back from vacation this past Sunday. It was great. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed anything more than the uninterrupted week with the family. Along with all the beach stuff I mentioned last week, we — Cal, dad and me — went sea trout and redfish fishing just before we left. I don’t know much about it so we hired a guide. His name is Geoffrey Page and is he ever good. If you want to book a trip with him you can reach him through www.floridainsiderfishingreport.com.

We caught a ton of them, some of which we ate for dinner that night. They’re good if you fix them right. All you have to do is cook them on the half shell with a little Tony Chachere’s and they’re good to go. Overall, the trip was wonderful. I did lose a few bucks to my dad, though.

At one point during our trip, he turned to me and asked if I wanted to bet $10 on who caught the next fish. I said sure. He made one cast and caught a nice sea trout. I’m not sure, and I’m not saying anything, but he might have had it marked. We’re a close and loving family but that doesn’t always mean we cut each other any slack in the boat. Anyway, it was good for a laugh, and it’s not the first $10 I’ve lost to dad.

This week I’m looking forward to the Bass Pros Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #2 on Lake Norman. It looks to be a good time. I enjoy fishing the Opens. Besides, with my win on the Harris Chain, if I fish all three of the Southern Opens, another spot will open up for an Elite angler at next year’s Classic. That’s a good thing. We’re all in this together, as far as I’m concerned.

And even if that wasn’t the case, I’d have fond memories of Lake Norman. That’s where I proposed to my wife some time ago. We were up there visiting her Aunt Brenda and Uncle Dan when I popped the question. Lucky for me she said yes. There’s something to be said for moving up in the world.

After that, it’ll be time to prepare for Bull Shoals Lake over in Arkansas. That’ll be a good one, too. It’ll be something different. Before that happens, though, I’m scheduled to do something with the Children’s Miracle Network. I’m excited about that. It’ll be one of my first official duties as the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion.

As of right now, I can’t tell you exactly what I’ll be doing but whatever it is it’ll be a privilege, and I’ll be proud to do it. There’s nothing better than spreading goodwill and cheer among those who need it. When you’ve been as fortunate as I have, you realize how much that really means. If I can help someone else experience that feeling, I’m all for it. I’ll never be too busy or too successful, never.

Next week we’ll talk about Norman and lessons learned.