R&R is overrated

The Elite Series season ended just over a week ago, but I've already had enough rest and relaxation!

I'm always exhausted at the end of a tournament season, but after 10 days or so, I'm ready to hit the water again and do some serious fishing. In fact, I'm already planning my next trip to Falcon Lake in search of my biggest largemouth ever. It looks like I'll be going in another week or so with Little Alton and another father and son. I know we're going to have a great trip.

One reason I know I'm going to have fun is that I start enjoying these trips way before I get behind the wheel and start driving to the lake. I love the anticipation of it all and the preparation, too. Getting my gear ready is a blast to me. There's just nothing about fishing and preparing to go fishing that I don't love.

And speaking about doing some serious fishing, these last few days of R&R have me more excited than ever about Toyota Trucks All-Star Week next month in Alabama. If you don't already know about it, the top eight anglers in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings get automatic bids to All-Star Week. After that, the fans vote in four more anglers.

I narrowly missed the top eight — I was ninth — and now my only chance to compete is with your help. I hope you'll go online and vote for me in Region 4. I'm up against a lot of great anglers and would truly be grateful for your vote.

I can't get there without you!

Campaigning for a spot in All-Star Week has been a ball. I've been reaching out to fans through my blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and it's all been a real inspiration to me.

All of this social media has allowed me to "meet" people from all over the world who love bass fishing and want to share their experiences. I haven't met all of my Facebook friends or Twitter followers in person, but I feel like I know most of you. Many of you have shared stories with me that have touched me very deeply.

Whether or not I get voted in (and I want to make it!), I've treasured the experience. The show of support that I've received has been overwhelming.

Before my next blog comes out, we'll be celebrating Independence Day, one of my favorite holidays of the year. It's a special day that I don't take lightly. I always take the time to reflect on how fortunate I am to live in the United States of America where I can worship as I choose and make a career as an angler.

The Fourth of July always invokes a lot of memories from my youth — riding my bike (decorated in red, white and blue) in a parade, eating a sliver of cold watermelon in the family car and getting it all over myself and my sisters, catching bluegills with my granddad.

This year, unfortunately, we're going to have to skip the fireworks. We're in the middle of a drought here. It's just too dry!