In the weeks since the Texas Swing of the Elite Series, I've had a chance to spend some time on the water with my kids Makayla and Mason. We have gotten some fishing in for both crappie and bass. There is nothing much better than taking my kids fishing and seeing them catch fish.

Few fishing partners compare to fishing with my kids or Bobbi, but getting on the water with my dad or my uncle Larry is one, for sure. It was nice to get out on Lake Quivira with each of them over the past few weeks, and it never gets old spending time with them on the water. In most ways, it's just as fun fishing with them as winning any tournament. These past few weeks of fun fishing with family got me to thinking about past fishing trips and where my passion for this sport got started.

I can't even remember my first fishing trips, as I was still in diapers when my dad and uncle started taking me fishing. We fished for anything that would bite, but one key thing really got me hooked on bass. My uncle Larry's 9-pound, 3-ounce giant that he caught before I was even born. He caught what had to be close to the Kansas state record at the time just over 42 years ago. Looking at that giant bass mounted on his wall in my early years was definitely a driving force in my career choice.

He caught that bass from a 2-acre pond behind a house my parents rented in then-rural Kansas City. Since then Kansas City has grown around the pond, and it's no longer rural but the pond is still there. I am not sure the pond has ever had a name, but I know where it is and the story of that fish is never far from my mind when I drive past it.

My love for fishing didn't just come from seeing that fish; it came from all the great times I shared on the water with my dad and uncle. I remember the rowboat we fished from, and I use the term "boat" very loosely here. It had no motor, no trolling motor and they could literally move the boat around by throwing big spinnerbaits in the direction they wanted to move. It just goes to show you, even without fancy bass boats, motors and equipment, you can still make lifelong memories fishing with good friends and loved ones, especially kids.

I'd like to thank my dad and my Uncle Larry for taking the time to share their love of fishing with me. Without that, who knows what I'd be doing today. The time they shared with me not only led to my career, but filled me with incredible fishing memories and stories. I can only hope my kids will have as many great memories and stories to tell about fishing with me.

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