Talkin’ all-stars, holidays and new baits

It’s good to be home for awhile after a wild season. The fact that I won another Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of Year title still hasn’t sank in and I still can’t believe it’s four in a row.

But the work never ends. Although I’m back in Michigan around family and friends, Sherry and I have been busy working in my office getting caught up on correspondence and business matters. As my fellow competitors will attest, being a full-time pro is a 365-day-a-year job.

I did an interview last week with a writer from Wetumpka, Ala., who asked me questions about the upcoming Toyota Trucks All-Star Week held at Lake Jordon and on the Alabama River.

It’s an exciting format where the field will be cut to eight after two days, and we’ll fish a bracket format in which we have to beat the anglers against whom we are paired. It’s not about points nor are there any implications that affect the regular season.

That means I’ve got to beat one guy regardless of what everyone else catches. If I do, I advance to the next day. If not, I go home.

And it’s winner takes all – a $100,000 prize. The format will create a lot of drama and you gotta bring it every day. Slip up and you’re done.

Eight of the 12 all-stars are already determined through Angler of Year standings with fan voting filling out the field. You can vote daily ( and I encourage everyone to get behind their favorite angler.

It’s difficult for me to vote because I have so many friends I’d like to see fish it. There are at least 25 who deserve to be there, but it’s cool that the fans get to decide who the four wild-cards will be.

Meanwhile, I’ve been testing new Strike King lures in my pool and pond. Most of these will be introduced at the ICAST Trade Show in Las Vegas this month.

ICAST is where all major companies reveal their new products for the following season, but we plan to roll a few of ours out to consumers before the summer is over.

We’ve got a new surface frog that is dynamite – Greg Hackney used it to finish in the Top 10 at the last Elite Series event – and a new KVD 1.0 crankbait.

We’ve also got some other crankbaits, jerkbaits and topwaters we hope to roll out and a new drop shot worm that is bad to the bone. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort tweaking these baits to get the right actions and shapes, and I can assure you that when you see them on the tackle store shelves, they will be ready to catch fish.

Before I head to the ICAST Show, I’m going to kick back with family and friends to observe the Fourth of July holiday. This is a time we will reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a great country and show our appreciation for the daily sacrifices being made by the men and women in the Armed Forces. Their efforts are what make it possible for us to enjoy what we do.

Remember: It’s all about the attitude. 

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