Sharks and barracuda

Last week was really busy. I was in Florida doing training with Bass Pro Shops and Strike King, two of my sponsors. We were going over all the new products and offerings for the next year. That's an important obligation I have as a professional angler. I take it seriously.

While I was there I had the opportunity to go fishing in the Keys with the host of the World's Greatest Fishing Show, Mark Zona, and Capt. Bo Johnson. I don't do much saltwater fishing, so it was really a lot of fun.

We fished for a number of species including shark and barracuda. The water is really clear and shallow down there, so it's a little like hunting. You cruise around watching for them and then throw to a target — the fish.

One of the more interesting things I learned is how wary sharks are on the flats. You know, you think of a shark as an aggressive predator. They are, but they're also skittish. It doesn't take much to run them off. That surprised me.

Early on I caught a 10-foot lemon shark that Capt. Johnson estimated would weigh around 400 pounds. That's a big one, but I hooked an even bigger one before the day was over. He spooled me before we could get the anchor up. My 80-pound-braid snapped like it was sewing thread. All of a sudden I saw silver on the spool and then heard a snap. It was over in a matter of a minute or so.

The most fun might be the barracuda, though. They're like muskie on steroids. They run, pull line, jump and thrash about with a complete disregard for the consequences. Obviously, they're not nearly as big as sharks, but they might be more fun to catch.

And let me tell you something else about the trip. Our guide, Capt. Bo Johnson, is the real deal. He knows what's happening on the water, and he knows his fish. I'm so enthused about the trip that I'm going to take Jackson and Nicholas down there in the near future.

I highly recommend you consider doing the same if you have the opportunity. You can contact Bo through his Web site at or by telephone at 239-633-4662.

But that was then. This is now. The Classic is calling. I'm leaving tomorrow for Birmingham. I need to get there early because I'll be doing some filming for Humminbird on Thursday before official practice starts on Friday.

I'll also be doing a daily blog from the Classic starting next Monday. I'll try to cover most everything that's going on and give you a heads up on anything you need to know about the competition. It'll be fierce.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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