Offseason in overdrive

It’s been another whirlwind week for me.

During the past seven days, I drove to Kentucky to do a retail store promotion for Strike King, filmed a TV show, attended a press event on Kentucky Lake and participated in a hometown charity event Thursday night.

While all of those activities were important, the March of Dimes “Signature Chef Auction” held in Kalamazoo was special. I was the honoree and guest speaker, and we raised nearly $100,000 which will be put to great use.

March of Dimes conducts research on premature births and helps people with prenatal care, something my family certainly knows about. My boys, Jackson and Nicholas were born 15 weeks early and weighed only 1-9 and 1-11 each at birth. Thanks to much of the work funded by March of Dimes, my kids are leading healthy normal lives today.

The public buys tickets to Signature Chef Auctions at which people sample dishes prepared by local chefs. The food is judged and chefs earn awards which they tout in their respective restaurants.

Participating restaurants offer dinner packages to be auctioned and my job was to add a little outdoors flavor to the evening. Some of my sponsors not only contributed cash, but they donated products that were auctioned off. I also donated a day of fishing on Gull Lake (near Kalamazoo) that became the biggest item of the night, raising $6,500. It was a very successful evening that attracted a lot of outdoorsmen and gave exposure to a great cause.

Of course, I’m not the only angler doing charity work. Several other Elite pros use their success and popularity to benefit others. We are fortunate to make a living at a sport we love and one that gives us the opportunity to make a difference to others. It’s one of those rewarding aspects of pro fishing that people often don’t hear about.

Earlier this week, I spent four hours signing autographs at The Cabin tackle shop in Kuttawa, Ky. They have an awesome store and there was a great turnout.

The next day I filmed a show for Strike King Pro Team Journal on Kentucky Lake with Crispin Powley, and we caught the fire out of the bass on the new KVD Sexy Dawg topwater that will be introduced soon. We’ve been tweaking the bait for several months and I can assure you it’s ready to fish. We’ve got a two-hook model and a larger three-hook version that cast far, walk easily and entice violent strikes.

After the filming, I headed to Fish Tales Lodge in Paris, Tenn., a neat little motel complex near Paris Landing on Kentucky Lake. For the next two days, I and other Strike King pros worked with some of the nation’s top journalists, helping them gather stories and photos that you’ll see over the next several months.

After all of that, it was good to be home. They call this the “offseason” for pros, but it seems like I’m busier than ever.

I’m eager to get back to fishing the Bassmaster events, and it all starts with me trying to defend my Classic title in Shreveport, La. in February.

You can bet I’ll be ready.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude.