The waiting is the hardest part

The 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic is only about a week away and I can’t decide if time is moving in slow motion or if it’s flying by.

In a sense, it’s crawling along. I’m ready for things to get rolling. I want to get out on the water and start practice. I want to get on some good fish, figure out a winning pattern and get launched for Day 1.

On the other hand, time is zipping by. I’m still getting ready for fishing, still winding up some business with sponsors, working with media, taking care of some things around the house and around the farm, getting my truck wrapped, waiting on my jerseys to come in. In that sense, I could use an extra day or two … or a week.

Here in Oklahoma, we just had some record warm weather, but that’s not necessarily an indication that it’s going to be warm for the Classic. Some of the forecasting models are predicting a major artic blast in the next week or so. That could really send the fishing off in a different direction.

While I’m wrapping things up around the house before hitting the road for the Classic and the Bassmaster Elite Series season, I’m also getting my rods, reels, tackle and everything else packed. In a sense, it’s not as critical as it would be for a tournament in another state, I know that if I forget something I can ask someone to run home and find it for me pretty quickly. That wouldn’t be possible if the Classic were in South Carolina or Florida.

Most of the baits I’m packing fall into one of five types: jigs, jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. For now, I feel like those are the lure types that can win. Something may happen between now and the tournament to change my mind, but I think it’s going to be won on something in those categories.

I’m excited about practice and the tournament partly because of some new baits that my sponsors are coming out with and that I may be using in competition, depending on the conditions. Zoom has a new swimbait called the 5-inch Swimmer that’s absolutely deadly. I know that tournaments are going to be won on that bait, and the Bassmaster Classic might be the first. I’ll tell you about my other new baits after the Classic.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a lot of concern over just how “fishable” Grand Lake was going to be in time for the Classic. I’m happy to tell you that things are looking good. Though it was 10 feet high very recently, it’s going to be at winter pool when we fish next week. Water clarity shouldn’t be a limiting factor either. There will be plenty of areas that are fairly clear and plenty that are the color of chocolate milk. Water temperatures should be around 45 to 50 degrees.

Having the Classic right here in my home state is greater than you can imagine. A question I get asked a lot is, “What would it mean to win at home?” Well, it would be a dream come true. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be and nowhere else I’d rather win. Winning at home means my family can be there. I can celebrate with them, I can take a victory lap in the BOK Center with my wife and kids in front of our family and friends.

Can it get any better than that?

If it can, I sure hope to find out in a little more than a week.