A party, a contest and a tip

Here we are in October already, and I'm still trying to get into a tree stand to find a big Kansas whitetail. That's the thing about winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title — it's great to have won, but it sure has filled up my schedule. I’m not complaining, just reporting!

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the great people at TroKar hooks. Nothing makes me more confident in a product than seeing the hard work and details the manufacturers put into the design of that product. That is exactly what the people at TroKar do. They listen to all of us who use their products on a daily basis to make their hooks the best on the market. It was nice to spend time with my competitors (Skeet Reese, Shaw Grigsby and Scott Martin) in a noncompetitive environment. Well, I say noncompetitive, but ol' Shaw set up a bow shooting contest for all of us with a big bow manufacturer, Matthews Bows.

I've never shot a bow in a competitive environment before. It's usually “shoot the bow and if a deer is dead after the shot, I win.” We had five shots with a maximum of 50 points and I got 48 points. Not to brag, but I won. The pro staff director from Matthews bows came in second with 46 points. Needless to say, there was a lot of trash talking before, during and after the contest. For the win, I received a bow worth about $1,000. I'm looking forward to giving it a try on a deer.

Last Friday we had our AOY victory party out here at Lake Quivira. It was nice to get together with a bunch of friends, family and sponsors to celebrate the achievement they all had a part in. I had friends from my old bass club days and even the local sports writer (who has helped me a ton) show up. It was just a great time, and I can't find the words to express how truly thankful I am to everyone who has helped me during my career, whether they were at the party or not.

My tip for the week comes from the TroKar visit. In our hook design meetings, we talked about the design of hooks and what makes them effective for every different presentation. So my tip is to pay attention to the hook you use for every presentation. Make sure you use a hook that is set up for the bait you are throwing. Using a hook designed for swimbaits for a plastic worm won't be as effective as a hook designed specifically for a plastic worm.

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