Ike's working vacation

The next three weeks are really looking up for me. I’m putting this column together while I’m sitting next to Becky in the RV with the two youngest kids in the back. Not everybody likes to travel with kids, and I respect that. But, for me, it’s a ton of fun. I absolutely love it.

Maybe it would be more accurate to say that I love being with the family, wherever we find ourselves. That’s why I’m so upbeat this week. For the next three weeks we’ll all be together in Tennessee.  

We should be at our campground near Douglas Lake by this evening. Once we get everything set up we’ll be able to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend before I have to get serious about getting ready for the Open that starts this Thursday. I’ll probably do some preparation this weekend, if conditions allow for it — which I doubt. Most lakes look like a major highway on holiday weekends.

Last time I talked about getting ready for Chickamauga. That’s pretty much the way I see the Open on Douglas. It’s not that I’m talking down about an Open. I’m not. I love to fish them and I’ll never tell you that the level of competition is anything less than professional.

But, let’s face it; an Open isn’t an Elite. The money’s a lot better at the Elite level and there are no Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points awarded in an Open. (The rules at Chickamauga are a little different this year. There are some Open guys fishing with us. They don’t get points, though.)

Anyway, once the Open is over, we’re going to stay around here for a short week. We want to do some traveling in the Smoky Mountains, visit the attractions and spend some time at Dollywood. I suppose you could call it a working vacation.

I have to admit that this is the way I want to travel, fish and compete. I don’t like to be away from my family for any period of time. I get lonely and I start to miss them after a couple of days. I’m pretty much like a little kid who’s homesick.

You wouldn’t think it would happen with all that goes into fishing a tournament. There’s on the water stuff from daylight to dark and then tackle preparation before and after that. In between everything, I need to eat a little something and study my maps. By the time I go to bed, I crash.

The homesick thing does happen, though, even if it doesn’t make sense. There’s just something reassuring or comforting about my family around and knowing that they’re all good. I sleep better that way.

After our short vacation, it’s off to Chickamauga. Once that tournament is over, we’ll head home. If all goes according to plan, we’ll arrive the day before my birthday.

Next week we’ll talk about The Bass University. We now have video online with our lessons archived. You can watch them anytime you want, and on almost anything — phone, tablet, laptop. It’s pretty cool. 

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, MikeIaconelli.com.