This is a true week for rest and relaxation. I’ve made it to the Classic. Basically, my fishing season is over. I’ll spend some time on the water and with sponsors but for the next few days at least it’ll be family, friends, football and fishing the mats on Guntersville.

The family thing is obvious. Cal’s first football game is on Saturday morning. I’m really looking forward to that. (I’m writing this one early so I can enjoy the holiday without too many interruptions.) While he’s playing, his sister will be cheerleading for him. It’s a family thing with them just like it is with the rest of the Lane family. That’s the way we do things — together.

After that it’ll be time to fire up the grill and hold cookouts for family, friends and neighbors. We don’t do anything special or fancy. Just get together for good eats and good times.

We haven’t talked about it before this but I’m a big football fan. I absolutely love the sport, especially at the college level. When I was in Florida, I was a big Florida fan. Now that I’m in Alabama, I’m a big Alabama fan. But, don’t think for a minute that I’ve forgotten my Florida roots. I haven’t. I look at it on the positive side. Instead of having one team to follow I have two.

That’s really not too much of a conflict. I can root for both all season except if they end up playing each other. Then I’ll have a problem. For reasons that every college sports fan will understand, I’m not going to say anything beyond that.

Once the weekend is over, I’ll head out to the lake. Now’s the time when the mats start getting right. I’ve caught largemouth bass all over this country but I’ve never had more fun catching one than the ones I’ve caught when they busted through a Guntersville grass mat. It looks like an explosion at times. You understand the meaning of predator when you see a 6- or 7-pound bass break through a mat and grab your frog.

In fact, I take this part of our sport so seriously that I helped develop a special frog just for this purpose. It’s made by Snag Proof and is appropriately named The Guntersville Frog. If you fish mats, give one a try. They’re made for heavy grass. The bass love ‘em.

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to talk about something more fishing related. That’s how to win a tournament. I’m talking about the mental side of a win, not catching the most weight.  I don’t claim to know everything about the subject but I do know some things. Most of what I’ve learned I learned the hard way so it’s not like I haven’t been there.

Hopefully, what I have to say will help you in some way. It’ll write it so that you can pick and choose the parts that fit you, and so that you can ignore the things that don’t fit you.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on www.twitter.com/ChrisLaneFish and www.facebook.com/chrislanefishing or visit his website, www.chrislanefishing.com.

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