So you want to be a bass pro?

Wow, this season is catching up with me already. I'm beat! It seems like every time that I start to put something together and find what the fish are doing, I miss the cut and it's time to go home. I qualified through the Opens, where you can take as much practice time as you need. But in the Elites, you only get 2 1/2 days to figure things out. On a lake as big as Toledo Bend, I think you just pick an area and stick with it. I think I picked the wrong area this time. Besides, none of the guys who were fishing around me did any good.

Well, back to my original question: So you think you want to be a bass pro? You can do it, but it's tough. Now I know you've heard that before, but let me tell you something you've never heard: A lot of people don't realize just how hard these guys really work, on and off of the water.

There are demands on them that you never see or hear about. Besides fishing nonstop, sponsors demand things of us. As an outsider looking in, it looks like nonstop fun, and, truth be told, individually these things can be fun, but when you put them all together, the whole thing becomes a lot of work.

Bass fishing truly is a professional sport. It's not like having a real job where you get away from your job by going fishing. Fishing is your job and you're looking for ways to make it fun and make it work for you. That's not saying it's not fun, because it is, and every one of these guys enjoys it, including me. It's like if someone handed you the keys to a stock car and told you to go race Dale Jr. Yeah, you could probably drive the car, but there's no way you'd beat him. That's like this.

Sure, you can fish, but you can't beat KVD except maybe one time out of ten. On the flip side, I get to fish with and against the best bass anglers in the world, and they're a bunch of good guys.

Just this past week at Toledo Bend, Power-Pole put on a crawfish boil for all of the Elite anglers and the Marshals, and it was one of the best events I've been to in a long time. They had a band, and I watched Shaw Grigsby eat more crawfish than most Cajuns can catch in a day. Just getting to talk and socialize with the guys who you see as pros was great. You get to see that they're real people and how they live and enjoy life. It's pretty interesting.

There is some tough work, but it's all worth it. So far, this has been a lot of fun, but this week I've got to get back to work!

I'm on the Arkansas River right now, I've been out for a day and am going back out again today (the guy I'm going out with had to go in to the office this morning — he's got a real job). Then I'm going down to Baton Rouge to see my mother and my wife, Linda, who is flying in because it's too far to drive all the way from Florida. That'll help me recharge my batteries a bit, and then I'll go through all of my equipment, clean my boat (it's got three weeks of road grime on it) and get ready for West Point. On the way there, I'm stopping by Wheeler.

See what I mean by lots of work and travel? It never ends! I'll let you all know how that goes in a week, but you've got to tune in as I reveal something very important to every touring bass pro, whether they're with B.A.S.S. or FLW or anything else.

In my next diary entry, I'm going to tell you about something that you must take care of and pay attention to (if you have it) to be successful on tour. It's something that's not talked about much — except in passing — and is something that plays a much bigger role than anyone who's not a pro can realize.