Trucks, bucks and new things

After a week of hanging out at home, spending a little time in the woods, getting ready for winter and taking the kids trick or treating, I'm back on the road. I flew to Las Vegas Monday for the SEMA Show to work with my vehicle sponsor, Toyota Trucks, who is rolling out a special exhibit there.

SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association, and it's where the premier specialty automotive products are unveiled for domestic and international buyers. Toyota, in its marketing relationship with Bass Pro Shops, has tricked out a truck with outdoor gear and asked me to present it to the media at a press conference. Toyota's marketing effort in fishing has been extremely successful with its pro fishing team and Bonus Bucks program. They're displaying at the SEMA show to do a little cross merchandising and perhaps take the program to another level and into other divisions. I'm looking forward to walking the aisles of this show, where all the latest and greatest vehicle accessories will be displayed. Maybe I'll find some cool stuff to add to my Tundra!

I plan to get back in the tree stand when I get home. I hunted a little last week and saw some really nice bucks. The rut is starting to heat up in my part of the country. My trail cameras are beginning to reveal some nice bucks on my property, and I've moved into the full hunting mode. I almost got a shot at a good buck last week. He kept inching closer to my tree stand, but never quite got within bow range. I don't take risky shots; I know if I'm patient, I'll get another crack at him. I also found the recently announced 2011 Bassmaster Tournament Trail format interesting. There are some major changes, including one that gives Open and Elite tournament winners automatic berths into the Bassmaster Classic.

There are some anglers who like the format and others who don't, and I can see both sides. However, my advice to everyone is to step back and take a closer look at it before drawing any conclusions. In the big picture, I think the new format will take us in the right direction and help grow the sport. It essentially puts more emphasis on winning a tournament — which is what we all should strive to do. Winning any major tournament is a big deal these days because it's so hard to do. I also think it's going to create more interest in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens and will make them even more competitive, and that's a healthy situation.

I also like the idea of including the Collegiate Bass Champion in the Classic field because we need to do more to bring young people into the sport. These are exciting times for BASS and the future of bass fishing. Instead of resisting change, we need to step back, think about where we want to take the sport and look to the future. Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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