Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hunt Complete, Classic Prep Begins

The white tail “rut” has come and gone here in Kansas and I was able to harvest a decent size buck. (Photo below left) My goal before the season was to get a Boone and Crocket white tail. That’s over 170 inches and I’ve still yet to get one that big. I’ve gotten close with my largest being 169 and 3/8, but this year wasn’t the year.


Taking that shot is bittersweet. On one hand, I was able to harvest a quality animal and can turn my focus back to fishing in time to pre-practice for the Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport. On the other hand the hunt is over for the year and I’ll have to wait until next year to get a bigger buck than my personal best.

This is my time of year to work with sponsors in preparation for next year. I feel good that I have my boat ordered and I have tied up all the loose ends from this year. Everything is in place order-wise and contract-wise with sponsors for next year.


A few weeks ago, my son Mason caught a giant crappie. (photo on left) It was a Sunday afternoon and the weather was getting ready to really cool down for the winter. I had a prior commitment that cancelled on me, which made it a perfect opportunity to take Mason and my dad fishing. You know, we got out there and caught a big mess of crappie and that one was definitely a bonus one for sure!


My only regret is, I wish we had weighed it. I’m guessing it was close to three pounds. We actually took it to Cabella’s and put it in their fish tank, we went and visited it already once since the day we put it in there. It was pretty cool, Mason was proud of that fish. Hopefully, the Crappie was happy with the result of ending up in the tank, instead of the alternative. I think it’s in the safest water it can possibly swim in.

I did finish my last FBI Citizens Academy Class a few weeks ago. When I went to college for a few semesters, law enforcement was what I was looking at majoring in. So it was probably a good thing I didn’t take this class when I was 19 or 20; who knows, maybe I’d be an FBI Agent today or instead of a professional angler.

Here is a quick rundown of what it was all about. It was 10 weeks long and we got to learn all about the FBI and the different departments of the FBI and the things that they do and don’t do. We also learned a lot about some of the kind of false rumors about what the FBI does.

I mentioned it in my last blog, but during the class there is a day called “range day.” On “range day” we were able to watch their SWAT Team do a demo. First, a shooting demo and then a second demo where they breached a house. That was really cool. Then, at the end of the day, we got to shoot a bunch of guns and anybody that knows me knows that I love to shoot guns. Needless to say, that was a blast.


I guess that leads into one other thing to discuss, something our family is really excited about. A few weeks ago we jumped into a retail gun business. The store is officially open for business and the grand opening went fantastic. (Photo of Grand Opening on Right)

The website is soon to launch as well so stay tuned for more on that. The store is called UT Arms and online it can be found at
www.UTArms.com. If you are in Kansas City be sure to stop by and check it out at 3003 Power Drive and that is in Kansas City, Kansas 66106.

Next I am off to do some pre-practicing for the Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport on the Red River. I will be doing some video blogging and short video updates to what’s going on. You’ll be able to view those right here. I’ll be sure to include some fishing tips as well.

Also, make sure you like my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/BrentChapmanFishing. I will be doing a “Twelve days of Christmas” list on that page. It’s a Christmas gift suggestion for the angler on your Christmas list and if you are an angler, you can share my list with your friends and family on Facebook to make sure they get you something that you can actually use.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chapman Checking in

There is so much going on where should I start?

I happy to report I am continuing to work out hard with they guys from FelixFishing.com. I feel I am already in the better shape than I have been in a long time, and we are really just getting started. I think being in top shape by the Bassmaster Classic will be a huge advantage to me on tour next year.

It's a neat thing to go to your own state fair. The Kansas Wildlife and Parks had a fish tank set up out there. Teaching the community about the fish in Kansas. It was a working vacation. The family - I encourage anybody, no matter what state you are in, to go experience your state fair. It helps you appreciate your state and you get to eat all kinds of goodies. You know, the crazy and unique foods that you only need to eat once a year.

I guess taking over in the Chapman footsteps my son Mason has been fascinated with fly tying. He just finished a four week class on fly tying. When he took the class, he was still seven years old. The flies he's tying already are way more advanced than anything I have tried tying. He did excellent and I am sure that it won't be our last fly tying class.

Something else I am really excited about is a class I am taking called the FBI Citizen's Academy. I have always been fascinated with Law Enforcement. They bring people in that have a presence in the community for this class. The FBI doesn't really do any marketing or even defending of themselves when people bash them. Instead, they have citizen's they have trained through classes like these that can educate the rest of the citizens on what the FBI does and how they do it.

They have already taken us through violent crime with crime scene photos and bits and pieces of evidence they used to solve the case. Other things we have studied is domestic terrorism, drugs and gangs and it has opened my eyes to how amazing our law enforcement in this country is. I will be more vigilant and aware of my surroundings, especially traveling the country.

It's an eight-week course and, near the end, we get to visit the FBI Training facility. We'll get to see how they train including the FBI swat team in live fire drills. We'll also get to shoot their guns, how cool is it to get to play with the FBI's guns and stuff.

For example, recently here in Kansas there was a kidnapping of a10 month old little girl. She was nabbed right out of her bedroom. Just a few days before the kidnapping we had a class about kidnapping. The gentlemen who ran the class happens to be the agent in charge of this case. After that class and hearing the facts of this case through the media, it has made me see it in a different light than I would have prior to that class. As for the case, we are hoping for the best for the little girl and her family, they are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

My son just turned eight and we had an unusual birthday party. He wanted to go down to my parents' farm and have fun. We kind of had a "red neck" birthday party. We went down and road four wheelers, shot guns, built a fire, cooked hot dogs on the fire. It was a great to spend the day with the family outdoors.

Fishing wise, I have had a couple Crappie trips. I love to bass fish, but when it comes to just fun fishing I really love Crappie fishing. A couple nights ago my daughter's-teacher's-husband, my son Mason and I fished for about an hour and a half and we caught 45 Crappie. Which brings to mind, a little something I like to stress to people about fishing. That is, even though you may be a hard core tournament angler, any kind of fishing can teach you something. It could be something as simple as maintaining boat position or reading your electronics. You still need to find out what they want to bite and how they want it presented.

I just got back from the Missouri Federation tournament at Truman Lake. I was happy to welcome the anglers to the event on behalf of Triton and Mercury.

I am at the point now where I am just itching to get hunting with the bow. Maybe I can find a free morning or two to get out there and shoot a few bows. The serious 'rut hunting' is coming up in just a few weeks!

One last cool thing, we have a few bass that live near our dock. One of which we call 'sore mouth' because we've caught him twenty or thirty times over the years. After we finished cleaning the Crappie, my daughter fed 'sore mouth' by hand. Here's the video.



video

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Triathlons, Bouys and Doves

9-8-2011

Last weekend I got my competitive juices flowing when I participated in my first Triathlon. The race included a 500 meter swim, a nine mile bike ride and a 3 mile run. I enjoyed it quite a bit and was able to finish it in one hour and sixteen minutes. If you haven't done one of these, I highly suggest it. Sure its a lot of work, but when you finish one you'll feel great, I know I did.

Before the event I figured I'd get a little practice in and went for a swim. I set out to swim across our cove here on Lake Quivira. I was about half way accrossed when I realized I was in trouble, I was done, I couldn't go any further, it took all I had to make it to a buoy. Although, it was a scary situation to be in, it is quite humorous looking back. I had to scream for help clinging to a buoy in the middle of the lake. Eventually I made it back to shore so I could write this blog.

My near drowning experience taught me a lesson and hopefully I can share that lesson with some of you. I spend a lot of time on the water and from time to time I think, "if something happened I could just swim to shore from here." Let me be the first to tell you it's not easy, unless you swim more than short distances often. Keep in mind, I was prepared to swim, in a swimsuit and the water was warm. I could only imagine trying to do that in full clothing and/or in cold water or after a fall from the boat or worse. The whole thing was definitely an eye opener for me.

Back to the triathlon, next year I am going to shoot for under an hour. Plus, this year, after my near drowning, I wore a flotation belt to keep me on top of the water. It was tougher to swim with it on, but it was quite a bit safer. Safe was important, I have a Bassmaster Classic or two yet to win and I am pretty sure Bobbi and the kids would miss me, so I opted for safety first. Plus, from now on I will be wearing my life jacket quite a bit more on the water.

Other than that, I have finished getting all my deer stands set for the hunting season this year. Only a few more weeks and I'll be up there looking for the biggest Kansas white tail I can find. In the meantime, I'll try to get some work done around the house.

The kids are back in school now, so Bobbi and I had the chance to go hunting. Opening day for Dove season was Thursday September 1st and Bobbi and I hit the woods and did some shooting. I think this was the first time since 2002 that Bobbi had the chance to go hunting with me and she shot really well after such a long time off and we had a good time.

Another thing that has happened since my last blog is Bassmaster released the 2012 schedule. It's an exciting schedule.

Heading back to the St. John's river where I had a solid finish last season will be good. It's also exciting to have a mystery lake on the schedule. I just hope it's truly a mystery lake, but I think its going to be hard for them to keep it a mystery.

It takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people to put on an event of this caliber. All those people need to know about it well in advance including sponsors, the local chamber of commerce, etc. It's back to back with our Wisconsin events you know it'll have to be within a 4 or 5 hour drive from there. That narrows it down a bit. Overall, its a great concept and if they can keep it a mystery I think it'll be a hit with the fisherman and the fans alike.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy Summer – Time to Catch Up

Blog 8-23-2011

I thought this summer was going to be a take it easy, relaxing summer. Instead, I have something going on pretty much every weekend and lots of projects around the houses.

I visited one of my sponsors, Cequent/Fulton Performance. They held their 100 year anniversary celebration and get together in Wisconsin. It was nice to hear about Cequent and Fulton’s business. Fulton was the originator of the coupler system that connects trucks and trailers and to hear about that was pretty neat. What really intrigued me was to hear how a company survives over 100 years. When you think about how hard that must be to do, and the relatively few other companies that have lasted that long, it speaks volumes about them as a business. The evolution of their innovative product lines, their level of performance and customer service are key reasons they have made it 100 years. Congratulations to the company and all the talented employees that have made that happen. I am thrilled to be a part of the Cequent and Fulton Performance Team.

Part of the event was a visit to Lambeau field and took some photos of the Triton/Mercury, Tight Lines UV and Futon boat and truck in front of the stadium. We got a full tour of the stadium and a Green Bay Packers history lesson. They love their 2011 Super Bowl Champion Packers in Wisconsin!

Another thing I learned in Wisconsin, you know they are known for their cheese, was what a cheese curd was. I love cheese and they introduced me to cheese curds. Now I am hooked. If any of you get to Wisconsin, make sure you give cheese curds a try.

Cequent held a raffle drawing for their employees. The winner got a day of fishing with me the following day. I fished with a nice guy named Shane and his son at a small lake in Wisconsin. We had a good time catching a decent amount of fish and sharing stories.

I just wrapped up a seminar series I have been working with my Church on. We did a five-week seminar on going fishing. During the five-weeks, I held seminars after each church service where we discussed lots of aspects of fishing. We've had a heat wave here in Kansas so it was pleasant to be inside talking about fishing rather than out in the heat actually fishing.

Recently there was an article in In-Fisherman magazine by a gentleman by the name of Ned Kehde titled Pain Free Fishing. The focus of the article was about a guy by the name of Travis Perret of FelixFishing.com and what he has done for anglers. He has worked with Stacey King and Takahiro Omori, who he really helped with his wrist injury. I got in touch with him after hearing he was also in Kansas.

Prior to getting started with Travis, I actually thought I was in pretty decent shape. Although I’ll admit that I hadn’t been working out much. I have been working out with Travis three or four times a week for an hour. I am finding out just how out of shape I really am. Looking ahead to the Bassmaster Classic in February, I know I’ll be ready to go by then. Those nasty cold days early in the season with lots of gear on and even into the summer where the weather can actually take a lot of energy out of you, well I will be ready for it. I’ll keep you posted wuth this blog. I may even include some photos of my flexibility improvement and more as we move towards the Bassmaster Classic.

We just got back from a pretty fun trip. Back in January I donated a fishing trip to my kids school to help out a fundraiser. A local friend here in town invited me down to his 25-acure farm pond to go fishing. It’s kind of sad, here I am a professional bass fisherman and the last bass over 4 pounds I caught was back on Toledo Bend in April. I was looking forward to going down there and getting some quality fish. We caught over 100 bass as a group. I did get at least one 5-pounder and a 6-pounder. The kids rode four wheelers and explored the farm while we fished. It was a fun weekend. I didn’t need a day of fishing what I seriously needed was a day of catching like that.

Looking ahead it’s time to put the rods and reels down for a while and get ready for bow hunting season. Bow hunting is one of my favorite things to do, it’s a lot like tournament fishing in that the details are key, if you cut corners in any aspect of the hunt you are going to pay for it. Every year I am out to beat get a bigger white tail, which isn’t easy. It’s a lot like those California trophy bass anglers they get a 14 or 15-pound bass and its pretty hard to go up from there. Plus, it’s time to get the kids a ramped up a little more with the hunting.

This weekend coming up I am headed down to one of my sponsors, Labette County Kansas. They are hosting a large year-end tournament for the ABA circuit on Big Hill Reservoir. I am headed down and will spend the weekend talking fishing and sign autographs. It’s always enjoyable meeting and talking fishing with other anglers and fans.

Next weekend I am truly stepping out of my comfort zone. Our community here, Lake Quivira, is having a sprint triathlon. I am pretty competitive and I like new challenges, so I am competing in that this year. It includes a 500-Meter swim, and I am not a swimmer. After the swim comes a 9-mile bike ride, and I am not much of a biker either, I do have my mountain bike, but most of the competitors will have fancy road bikes. Then it ends with a 3-mile run. I haven’t done anything like this before other than a few 5k’s that I have done with Bobbi the last couple years. It’s going to be an interesting challenge for me. I am not out to win, but more just to say I did it.

I am tired just thinking about all that. I’ll start getting my food plots out for the hunting season next week.

Lastly, I would like to thank Ben Fuchs who has helped me with my blogs over the last few years. He was a big help and I really appreciate it. Now we will be working with True Image Promotions my new PR company moving forward. I am excited about the idea of the True Image helping me gain exposure for my sponsors and helping me educate anglers through articles and videos and keeping my fans informed on what I am up to. We’ll be blogging often so be sure to check the website http://BrentsBassLine.com and like us and follow us on Facebook at http://Facebook.com/BrentChapmanFishing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

ICAST Was Hot, but Kansas is Hotter!

First off, I want to say thanks to everyone who voted for me for the Bassmaster post season event. It wasn't enough to get me in, but I do appreciate everybody who tried to get me there. The way I see it, not making it down there has enabled me to do more at home. I am working hard with my church doing promotions and seminars with them, and if I had left to go to Alabama I wouldn't have been able to help out as much.

We got back from ICAST last week, and had a great time. I always enjoy myself there, and enjoy catching up with friends that I don't get to see as often as I would like. Wright & McGill/Eagle Claw had their annual Texas Hold 'Em tournament, which is always a ball. However, my poker game does leave something to be desired. It's more about the camaraderie though (at least that's what I tell myself!) There were some awesome products introduced at ICAST and I was proud to be there representing Wright & McGill, Lazer Trokar, and Tightlines Tackle. Wright & McGill introduced their new Rick Clunn series cranking rods, which I am really excited about. These rods are going to be awesome. I am definitely going to have one of the most colorful boat decks on tour next season with my yellow Skeet rods and my aqua Rick Clunn cranking sticks! I am also super excited that Trokar released their new treble hooks. We all know that Trokar revolutionized the fishing hook industry when they came out a couple years ago, but these trebles will take them to the next level. Also pumped about the new baits that Tightlines unveiled at ICAST. It was a very cool show, and I am proud to be a part of these great companies and can't wait to put all of these awesome products to work next season!

One other cool thing that went down at ICAST, was that I penned myself a new sponsor in a company called Bassminder. They make convenient stickers for your fishing reels, that allow you differentiate between the different line types, the pound test, and the date that each reel was spooled with that line. Pretty neat idea, and sure beats writing on all of my reels with a sharpie! They also are selling convenient fishing conditions and presentation charts that are marketed more for the beginning bass fisherman. Pretty cool new company!

Now back at home, like I said earlier, I have been working a lot with my church doing some fishing seminars and activities. It is really special to be a part of something like this, as I am getting to work with people who really don't get to fish very often, and maybe don't know as much about the sport as they would like to. The last seminar I did, I had a question about why a fisherman like me has so many rods. I think the best way to explain that is to compare bass fishing to golf. A golfer can go out with only one club and play golf, but he isn't going to be nearly as successful as he would be if he had an entire arsenal of clubs to use in the many different scenarios you come across on the golf course. In fishing, I could go out and fish with a spinning rod all day, but I would be limited in how I could go about catching fish with just a spinning rod.

This morning, we did a family fishing day and had a cook out after wards and it was a great time. And later on today and again tomorrow I will be working with parents on teaching their kids how to fish. It really is a privilege to be able to do this, and introduce more people to the sport of fishing!

As always, I am working on ironing out sponsorship deals for next season. And, I find myself thinking of deer season, and the Classic too. I feel like I am going to blink and then it will be time for the Classic, everything is moving along so quickly. I can't wait for deer season, and I need to get out there and start doing some scouting so I can be ready. But, for right now, I am concentrating on just surviving this extremely hot weather, and you all should do the same!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July - Work Hard, Play Hard!

It is sure nice to be home. I have been able to spend a lot of quality time with family and friends, and not have to worry about the pressures of competition. Spent the 4th of July here at home with the family, and watched the fireworks show. It was a nice and relaxing weekend. I have been able to get out on Lake Quivira to do some fun fishing, which is always nice. We also just got a fish feeder for my parent's dock, which has been a real treat. The bluegills are already getting bigger and fatter, and you should see the giant carp that the feeder brings in! They're also pretty darn fun to catch too! You are probably saying, "What is a bass fisherman doing catching carp?" Well, I will tell you. It is fun for the kids, and it is easy, but more importantly I can use that time to learn how to fight fish better. Those carp are the ultimate fighters, and I can downscale my line and tackle and not get worried about breaking them off and become more adept at landing big fish on finesse tackle. At least that is what I am claiming anyway!

Next week is ICAST, and we are excited to get out to Vegas for a week. It is always fun to see all of the new products, and all of our old industry friends that we don't get to see as often as we would like. After ICAST, it will be time to start working on sponsorship details, and getting things ironed out for the next year.

This weekend I will be working a promo out at Roger's Sporting Goods for Tightlines and Trokar, which should be a good time. And, starting on the 17th, our church is starting a 5-sermon series on fishing, and will be utilizing me to help with the presentation of it all. So this month is shaping up to be a pretty exciting, and event filled month.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vote for Me!!!

What a relief! The cards fell just right, and I got lucky and made it back to the Classic. I worked hard to get to where I am now, but I am still not pleased with my performance. I left too many doors open, and left too much to chance at the end. I ended up 24th at Wheeler, but going into the final day there were 2 potential scenarios to put me into the Classic, and 2 potential scenarios to block me from earning a Classic invite. Like I said, the cards fell right for me. I feel bad for the guys who didn't make it, or for the ones that are now banking on making it through the Northern Opens, but that's the way that this type of competition is.

At Wheeler, I was absolutely floored by the weights. In practice I never got on anything huge like what we saw at weigh-in, and going into the event I figured it would be a deal where 5 keepers kept you in the hunt. I totally underestimated Wheeler, and that whole underestimation deal was kind of a theme throughout my season that I am going to try and work on and overcome for next season.

The fish I caught during the tournament I literally found during the last 2 hours of the last day of practice! I had found what I thought would be a primary spot, but it was covered up with boats when I got there the first morning of competition. I ran to this back up place, and the fish were piled up there. It was on the Decatur Flats, but it was a very specific spot. What killed me though, and kept me from competing on the final day was the fact that I couldn't catch a fish over 2 pounds on the third day. There were loads of fish there, but there wasn't much size swimming around down there.

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster for me. Like I said earlier, I am not happy with my season, but I am happy about making the Classic. During the summer months I plan on taking some time and reflecting on some of the negative aspects of my season, and trying to correct them so that I can have a strong 2012 campaign. Now that the season is over, it is kind of sad, relieving but sad! I had all of these grand plans to fish all over and do all of these awesome things this summer, but now looking at my calendar I am pretty wrapped up in promotional events about every other weekend. I was going to try and sneak down to Falcon, but I'm not sure if I will even be able to do that! The season is never really over for a Bass Pro, we always have stuff to do. And, knowing me, I will find plenty of time to get out and fish.

One more thing I wanted to add is that you can get on-line and vote for me as your fan favorite, and hopefully send me to the post-season event! The website is vote.bassmaster.com. Please vote for me! It would be a very pleasant surprise if I was able to fish down there, and I would greatly appreciate your votes. Oh yeah, if I don't make it to post-season, Bobbi and I are going to participate in a "Warrior Dash". It's an extreme running deal with obstacles and crazy stuff. I think I would be better at fishing in the post-season! Please vote! Thanks guys!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Left the Monkey in Little Rock

I didn't win at Little Rock, but it felt almost as good! I worked hard, and I am real happy with a 14th place finish. I have my sights set on doing that again this week at Wheeler! I am feeling good, and my head is in the right place. I just need to let this momentum carry me to another solid finish.

On the Arkansas River, I locked through to pool 5 each day. The first 2 days I caught my biggest fish of the day before I locked through flipping a UV beaver to laydowns on riprap near the lock. My spot was essentially a mile and a half stretch of riprap that I had all to myself. I caught all of my fish on various shallow diving crankbaits along the rocks. The third morning when I went to my first spot before I locked through, it was like no one was home. I tried, but couldn't get a bite in the laydowns. I had to lock through with an empty livewell, and I was a fish short when the end of the day came. Had I caught one more fish, I would have been in the final day. But, it is what it is, and I have nothing to complain about looking back on Little Rock. In fact, I am thankful that I ended up where I did.

Now, we start the Wheeler tournament tomorrow, and it is tough out there! Definitely not the same Wheeler I remember. There is no grass anywhere, and it has obviously had a negative impact on the bass. It will definitely fish slower and tougher than it has in years past. In practice I tried fishing down on the lower end near the dam, and found absolutely nothing. So, on the next day I put in on the upper end by that dam, and found more of the same thing. I have literally covered the lake from end to end, and while it was a grind everywhere I went, I can say that the mid-lake area seems to be where there is the most action. I feel good about what I have found there in practice, but am just worried about having to share it. With the lake being as unproductive as it is, the spots that are holding fish are probably going to be crowded.

I am feeling confident, and am just going to keep my faith and keep my fingers crossed for this one. If there is one thing I know, it is that someone is going to catch them. And if there is one hope that I have, it is that I am the person who is catching them! I am no longer fishing with a monkey on my back, and I just have to keep reminding myself that I have gone from no chance to having a chance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm in Little Rock, but My Heart is in Joplin

I made it through practice here in Little Rock. The heat has been overwhelming, but I feel good about things. It was a decent practice for the first couple of days anyway. Day 3 was a little rough, I am hoping that the tournament will fish like the first 2 days of practice. I am planning on locking down, I have a little spot that I found that if nobody beats me to it, should be pretty good. It is loaded with fish, and I say fish, not bass, because it has everything. You can catch a 3 pound bass and on the next cast catch a 10 pound drum. These fish on the river all like the same type of areas, so if you pull up on a spot and catch a drum right off the bat, it is a good idea to stick around for a bit and see what else is there and willing to bite.

This week the pressure has really been on. I have to perform well this time out, not only for our livelihood, but to make the classic and have an opportunity to fish next year. To put it mildly, I am nervous about this one. The plus side, though, is that this event is my kind of event. Power fishing shallow stained water.

During the break we had a lot of things going on. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go fishing with Wayne Simien, but hopefully that will transpire at another time. I really didn't get to do nearly as much fishing as I had hoped, but I feel like I had something more important to do. When the tornado hit Joplin, it was just too close to home for us. I felt like I had to do something, and honestly all I did was send an e-mail and make a couple of phone calls and I had a team of people and a garage full of tools and supplies to truck down to Joplin! It was awesome, and none of us did it for the media attention. Honestly, the guys from the KC Chiefs that came and helped out told me that they would prefer it if the media didn't take notice. We all just wanted to help out our neighbors. All of the pictures and videos of the damage really don't do the Joplin tragedy justice. To understand and grasp the devastation in Joplin, you really had to be there and see it for yourself. The whole event was very powerful and moving, and it really puts things into perspective.

For this week, I am pulling for a top 25 finish. Really, I would like a win, but I would settle for anywhere in the top 25. And, if i can do that next week too, I think I will make the classic. It might be a tall order, but I think that I can pull it out, even with the pressure on the way that it is.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fun, Focus, and Optimism

I just got home from watching my 3 year old nephew's soccer game. And, while at 3 years old, the team might lack fundamental knowledge of the game of soccer, they are still out there having the time of their lives. The kids fall over, and get right back up and keep on playing. That is the kind of attitude that I need to have toward my fishing, toward my game. I need to stay positive, bounce back up after I fall, and most importantly I need to have fun. During this break I am going to focus on getting my head back in a positive place, and getting back to the "fun" of fishing. Then when we hit the road for the final 2 tour stops, I will be able to get out there, and fish my strengths and just have fun, and hopefully get to where I need to be in the standings.

During this break, I plan on doing a little fun fishing here on LQ and maybe travelling to one of the lakes around the Topeka area that I have been hearing some good things about. Also, I am taking former KU basketball star Wayne Simien out for a day on the lake. We will either fish here at LQ or go to a private watershed lake. It should be a really good time, as Wayne is a tremendous athlete and has a love for the sport of fishing as well. I am really looking forward to it!

This next stop at the Arkansas River should be a tough event, but it is definitely one that I have been looking forward to all year. This tournament should set up very well for my preferred style of fishing, which can only help my cause in the points standings. Wheeler should suit me well too, so I am very optimistic about my chances to salvage my 2011 season.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Post Point

West Point was a really disappointing tournament for me. It marked the third tournament in a row that I have failed to cash a check. I haven't had that happen in quite some time. Right now, I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me to perform at Murray. I am not going to let the pressure get to me though, I am just going to go out and fish. As long as I keep my head in the right place, I still have a shot at making the Classic cut.

The reason West Point was such a struggle for me and several other anglers is because we just under estimated it. I was anticipating a low-weight, grinding it out to catch 5 keepers type of event. The type of event where a 12 lb average would put you in the final day. Everyone I talked to assured me that it would be that way, but I guess when you put the 100 best anglers in the world on a body of water, it pretty much blows away all preconceived notions. In hindsight, I really wish I would have done more of my OWN homework, instead of relying on word of mouth information. I didn't have a good practice there, and that kind of haunted me the whole tournament. I was counting on the lake to unfold and reveal itself to me a little bit each day, but it didn't, and it caught me by surprise. On day two of the event, I scrambled and fished new water in an effort to up-size my catch, but I ended up crashing and burning trying to swing for the fences. Chances are, if I would have kept the same game plan I had on day one I would have made the day 3 cut. But, it is what it is. Lesson learned, and now it's on to the next one.

I am little nervous about Murray, but I am really excited. The pressure is on, and my practice wasn't very good, but I know what I need to do. Murray is a spot lake, in that there is so much stuff that looks the same, and looks like it should produce, but each different spot has subtle differences that can be the difference between getting a bite and not getting a single sniff. Clouds and a breeze will definitely help my cause out there, but it is looking like Murray is running on a shortage of those for this week. It will really come down to a right time, right place kind of scenario out there, and will probably be similar to how West Point was. Running and gunning just stopping to make a cast or two before you move on to the next spot. While it might not be my favorite way to fish, I do know what I have to do, and I am ready to turn the corner in this season and get to where I need to be.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Half-Time

I guess the best way to sum it up is to say that Toledo was a lot like Pickwick for me. I really feel like I left early down there, and should have been in it on day 3. We camped out right by the launch ramp, and it was really kind of a heart-breaker to hear all of the names called, and hear all of the guys take off and not be out there. Just like in any tournament though, I did learn a lot. Toledo Bend really is a great fishery, and I think its vastness really kind of did me in.

On day 1 I felt like I fished pretty good, and did everything to my best ability to catch the fish that I caught. I went to my starting area confident that it would produce for me, because I had some good bites in there in practice. It was a bay that was fairly protected from the wind, and I was getting bit over the top of some grass on crankbaits. I figured I would be culling an hour into the first day, that is how good this spot could have been. But, on day 1, I only had 1 fish at 10a.m. So, I bailed, and went to my back up spot. Got in there, and promptly put together 14 pounds, and lost a couple of nice fish. Looking back, I feel like those fish really probably cost me a check, and a chance to fish on the 3rd day.

On day 2, I went straight to the spot that I caught my bag the previous day. This bay was pretty large, and I literally was able to fish for 4 hours down a bank without ever having to turn around. I put my nose down, and caught fish every now and then, and was confident that sooner or later I would boat some nice fish. However, it just never happened. I got too relaxed in there, and should have made some adjustments to get the bigger bites that I needed. It was a really disappointing day for me, and it took me a couple of days to get over it, and put it behind me.

In hindsight, there is some positives to the Toledo Bend event. I got some decent AOY points, and didn't fall too far from where I was going in to the event. This same time last year, I was much worse off in the points, so that is a little comforting.

During my time off back home I am getting out and doing some turkey hunting. I have already been out once, without any luck. But hopefully this weekend out on the farm we will be able to find some cooperative birds. Next Tuesday we are leaving for West Point, but before we get there we are stopping in Birmingham Alabama for the Mark's Outdoors Tournament on Lay Lake. I have been a part of this event for many years now, and it is always a great time and a good opportunity to promote my sponsors and promote the sport of bass fishing. Camaraderie and good times with the Marks Outdoors Tournament and the fact that West Point is going to set-up to be my kind of fishing makes me really excited to get the 2nd half of the Elite season underway!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bassin on the Bend

Last week on Pickwick was frustrating, to say the least. I really wish I could have day 1 to do all over again. For some reason I just got too relaxed out there, and never kicked it into high gear. I kept flipping along, and just expected the big ones to show up, when what I should have done was flipped up a limit and then made a move or adjusted my presentation to catch a couple of kickers. I was focused on day 2, and my performance proves it, however it wasn't enough to overcome my day 1. At least it was only a 55th place finish, and not any worse. I barely missed a check, which stings a bit, but in the long run it isn't going to hurt me too bad in the AOY standings. At Pickwick I stuck with what I have been doing all season. I flipped my 3" tightlines UV Blue Beaver in thick cover.

Now we are at Toledo Bend, and it feels good to be back down here. This will be my fourth tournament on the Bend (the last time I was here was in 2003). The lake is low, and it is really dangerous. Many of the boat lanes aren't even safe, we are really kind of running the lake "at our own risk." The most difficult part about this place is the sheer size of it. Toledo Bend is huge! Even the map is intimidating! I have managed to find an area I want to focus on, and there are some decent fish there. I just need to dial them in a little bit, and maybe expand just a little bit. One thing I can say about this tournament for sure is that it is going to take some weight. I am expecting the Bend to put out weights that could possibly exceed what was done at Pickwick. So, this is going to be a good one, and I really am hopeful that I will have a good shot, and the Bend will treat me well.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pickwick: Pre-Spawn Pandemonium

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted, so I have a lot of catching up to do. We had our own little spring break in between St. John's and Pickwick, and got to do a lot of fun family stuff during this time. We went to Disney World, and visited my parents in Tampa. Mikayla has learned how to ride a bike all by herself, without the training wheels, and I am very proud! Mason went with me and my Dad on a charter fishing trip on a big charter boat, and did great! I am a very proud Father!

Unfortunately during our break we lost my Grandmother. We knew it was coming soon, and I am just glad that I got to see her not too long ago. I feel awful, but with my hectic travel schedule, we weren't even able to go to the funeral. I know that she understands though.

During the break I had the opportunity to go check out West Point Lake. I drove around quite a bit, and feel like it could really set up well for me. It seems like my kind of lake, which I am really excited for!

Now here we are at Pickwick, and once again we have some interesting weather going on. On day 2 of practice I was off the water at 2 in the afternoon to avoid a storm. I know some guys didn't get off in time, and they got beat up pretty bad out there. Now with this rain, and the fact that the lake is already above pool, I am afraid that they will pull the water down too much. If they pull the water down just a foot or so, it will position those fish better for us. Too much though, and they will be forced to evacuate the shallows. If they don't pull it too much down, this is going to set up to be a really great tournament. All of the fish are totally pre-spawn, and they are big, fat and football shaped!

Last year Pickwick was a really good event for me, and this year it is looking like it is going to be another tournament that I will be able to excel at. I am excited to get it started and finally be able to set the hook on all of my bites!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Florida R&R

I will take it! I'll take a 17th place finish in Florida! St. John's was quite an experience, and I definitely learned a whole lot. Learned a ton about bed fishing, something that I typically do not excel at, and I learned more about the unique fishery that is Florida. Everything I caught this tournament came off of beds in Lake George. And, in hindsight I wish that I would have moved around a little more, and done a little bit more exploring like Edwin did. But, I can't complain with where I am at right now! Everything I caught this last week came on a 6" UV Hawg, and a 3" UV Beaver.

Right now I am sitting in 17th place in the AOY standings, and I am pumped about that. This season is starting off a lot stronger than last year's, and I am really excited to see what the rest of the year brings. Right now the family and I are getting some R&R time in at Disney World. We enjoy making vacations out of all of the travel we do. This weekend we are headed to Tampa to see the grandparents and spend some time with them, and then it is off to Westpoint Lake to do a little pre-practice before we get to Pickwick. I am excited for Pickwick, as I fished well there last year, and am hoping that this year the fishing plays to my strengths.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Florida Finale

I can't complain about the Harris Chain event, not one bit. I ended up finishing in 30th place, and that is a great way to start out the regular season. I didn't fish poorly or slip up at all, I played with the cards that I was dealt and did what I could with them. I got a ton of bites on the Harris Chain this past week, but I honestly never caught a fish over 3 lbs the whole time I was there. This was just a weird event, and it definitely didn't play out the way that I thought it would. I was actually planning on starting day 1 in the pond that Grigsby and Goldbeck crushed them in, but I drew boat 90 for that day and didn't even bother. Kind of makes me wonder "What if?".

Each day of the event I went out to get as many bites as possible. I had the mind set that I was going to wade through the dinks to catch a lunker, but that never panned out. I flipped a 3" UV blue beaver around lilly pads the entire tournament, and really caught a ton of fish on it. On Saturday I threw a shallow crank into the mix, and caught a couple of my bigger fish on that. But, the tightlines beaver was my go to bait this past week.

Now it is on to the St. John's River. This is a really neat place, and this tournament is going to be a slug fest. The last time I fished the St. John's was in '99, so I don't really have a whole lot of recent knowledge to fall back on for this one. I do think that we will be able to go out and catch fish on whatever we want to catch them on, and people will be successful in targeting pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn fish. This is going to be a good event, and will likely be the biggest slug-fest of the season!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Left Home for the Harris Chain

I am so excited to get this elite season underway. I am feeling really good about where I am right now, and am really excited to fish this year. This Harris Chain event is definitely going to be tough, and honestly the whole schedule looks like it is going to be tough. But, I am excited about that. I feel like I have a better opportunity to rise to the top when the fishing is tougher than normal. I have had some success here at the Harris Chain in the past, but the conditions were quite a bit different than what we are facing this year. In my first practice day I found some fish, but most of them were short, and the keepers I have found aren't the kind that I will need. I wish I had more practice time down here because there is so much fishable water in this place, but I believe that I will be able to eliminate enough water to whittle my options down to something that will work come tournament time.

I have to say that it was a relief just getting here. The driving part of this job never gets any easier, it takes two and a half days to get from Lake Quivira down to here. And with gas prices as high as they are, I am really hoping to do well down here to make the venture profitable!

As different as this fishery may be from the New Orleans Delta, I have found some similarities. On the Delta, the majority of us did quite a bit of driving to get to our spots. Here at the Harris Chain, we will also have to do quite a bit of driving. This year we are launching at a new facility that is two canals (or two 30 minute idle only zones)away from Lake Harris, where we have launched in the past. There are so many canals and rivers here that are No Wake Zones that almost the entire fields' driving time will be consumed by travelling at idle speed. While the running distance is not comparable to what we endured on the Delta, there will be more time behind the wheel here than at an ordinary elite series event. But, it is what it is. And you have to make the most of it. The other similarity is that the fish here seem to like my Tightlines UV baits about as much as the fish on the Delta did. It gives me confidence to know that I am throwing something that the fish want, and that means a lot on a body of water that is as infamously fickle as this one is.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can't Wait!

I am ready to get back on the water! The classic is over, and I have had a week off at home. But it hasn't really been a week off! I have been so busy running around doing things to get ready to leave for Florida, and working for sponsors.

I spent Saturday at the Bass Pro in Independence working their Spring Classic. I got to work with Jimmy Houston, one of my all time heroes. It is really special being able to share the stage with someone like that, someone that I have held at high esteem for quite some time. And, by the way, the crowd at the Independence Bass Pro was the best I have ever experienced! A ton of people came out to see Jimmy and myself, and the response I received from all of the fishing fans there was almost overwhelming. I want to say thank you again to everyone for supporting me, congratulating me, and for all of your prayers and positive comments. It really means alot to me. I had a great time working the Bass Pro Spring Classic, and thanks to everyone who attended!

On Sunday I sat down and watched the Classic coverage on TV. I am very pleased with the amount of television time I received, and was happy with the way the show came out. It was pretty neat to watch bits and pieces of the long run from Bayou Segnette down to Venice from the overhead perspective they had on the show. I have to hand it to those guys, they put together a heck of a show, and to do it in just a week's time is pretty awesome. So, thanks to the folks who edited and put the show together, it came out great!

On Monday I did a photo shoot for Fulton with my wrapped truck and boat. It was a pretty neat experience. Makes me feel good to be working with a company who does things like this, and shows their involvement and support in such a way.

Now we are almost ready for Florida. We leave on Wednesday, and come to find out that our roof is leaking. So, that is just one more thing to have to deal with before we leave! Probably will have to find time to have some work done, or even put a whole new roof on the house! Whatever it is, I'll have it done. As long as I can get back out on the water, it will be fine with me!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Classic Conclusion

What an amazing week it was at the Classic. I guess I am a little dissapointed that I didn't win, but on the other hand I am so excited that I made it as close as I did. I don't feel any regret or remorse for any of my decisions made during the classic, honestly I executed flawlessly. Not one missed bite or lost fish, I capitalized on every situation that was thrown my way. The one thing that I couldn't overcome was the drastic decrease in water temperature on the final day in the Venice area. But, even then I was surprised at how many fish I caught in 49 degree water.

The Louisiana Delta, and Venice in particular is just an incredible fishery. I would say that it is definitely one place that every angler should experience in their life time. It was literally like pond fishing for me. Those fish bit like they hadn't ever seen a lure, that is how good it was. I will say that I looked at Cataouatche in practice, and while it seemed like an impressive area to me, I just didn't think that it would be able to hold up for the entire tournament. I really thought that the local pressure would hurt it, and the actual number of competitors fishing in there would shut it down. What I didn't account for was the timing of the whole deal. Cataouatche set up perfectly in that the weather forced the fish to move up in to that area in waves the entire week. Had the classic been one week earlier or one week later Cataouatche wouldn't have produced, and my spot would have produced the winning bags of fish. I caught 95% of my fish this week on a 3" Tightlines UV Blue Beaver, on a Trokar flippin hook. I barely had any bites on moving baits. I was really dialed in flipping this beaver bait, and nothing else would have caught them any better. I tried some other flippin baits as well, but the UV baits just produced better. With the stained water that I was fishing, I think the UV helped the bait to show up and look more realistic to the fish. And, I chose the blue color because this time of year the craws take on a little bit more of a blue tint, but also down there on the delta those bass feed on blue crabs. So, the UV blue beaver really fit the bill for the delta forage.

I need to say a few thank-yous to all of the people that supported me, cheered me on, and shared their well-wishes with me. All of my friends and family that came down to New Orleans, you guys are awesome! Everybody that followed along on their computers from home on my blog or on bassmaster.com, thank you so much. I really do appreciate all of you guys, and I hope you know how much it means to me to have your support. I also want to say thank you to Terry Butcher, Gary Klein, and Kevin Wirth. The first 2 days of the event, I was running without the Lowrance Broadband Radar, and these guys really helped me out by navigating me and letting me follow them. And on the last day, Terry let me borrow his Radar unit, and Lowrance got it all set-up on my boat. I really appreciate the Lowrance crew, and Terry for being so generous.

Now we are going to be back home for a few weeks, and then it is back on the road to Florida to kick off the elite series season. I can't wait to get back out there because this Classic has really lit a fire in me, and I am going to capitalize on this momentum throughout the rest of the season.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Classic Confidence

I survived my Wednesday practice. Made it the 120 miles from Bayou Segnette State Park to where I plan to fish in the Venice area. I am really glad that I took the time on Wednesday to plan my route, and time my trip. I had to stop and get gas both ways on Wednesday! It was like winning a tournament just getting down there! I am so excited to start this classic, I feel so good going into it. If my day tomorrow goes as well as my practice on Wednesday did, I will be feeling really good about things. The one thing that makes me kind of uneasy is that I know that alot of the field is fishing in the Venice area, but not all of them made the run Wednesday like I did. So, I don't have a very good idea as to whether or not I am going to have my areas to myself. I guess I will find out tomorrow. The level of uncertainty is what makes this whole event so special anyway.

Tomorrow I am just going to go fishing. Well, I am going to go boating, and then I am going to go fishing. I am fishing the way that I like to, and I think that the fish are going to be coming to me these next few days. I have quite a few things going my way, and I am going to try my hardest to try and get this forward momentum to carry me through to another great Classic finish!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chompin at the Bit!

With the 3 days of practice behind me, and the postive swing in the weather, I have to say that I am really excited for this Classic. My practice went really well, and I am feeling really good about things.

Friday, the first day of practice, started out a balmy 20 degrees! That is the kind of weather that I thought I was leaving behind back in Kansas! I was really surprised to find the water temperatures were around 45 to 48 degrees. Not what I expected at all. But, over the 3 days of practice I had quite a few bites, and quite a few big bites, so I have to say that I am pumped about that.

The water is a little low right now, but it doesn't take much of a change to make the delta dangerous. Alot of guys had issues running the delta, but somehow I was lucky enough to get through practice with no major mishaps. I was fortunate enough to find quite a few good stretches of water, but one of the places that I found in pre-practice that I thought would be a perfect little overlooked honey-hole ended up being an area with 38 degree water that looked like chocolate milk! That's the delta in February though, you never know what you are going to get.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I am planning on running my route and figuring out exactly how long it will take me to get from the launch to where I plan to fish. Come Friday, I am planning on making the longest run I have ever had to make for a tournament, and I anticipate having to stop and get gas at least once during each day of competition. But, that's how it is out here. It is truly difficult to comprehend the sheer size and magnitude of this fishery until you are out here in it.

As for the competition days, I expect there to be some good bags brought in. With the way that the weather has changed, water temps will likely be in the mid to high 50 degree range, and before this is all over we could see temps into the 60s. This could be one of the best classics ever. I think part of the reason this classic is going to be so awesome is because everyone has to take a gamble, there is no playing it safe down here on this fishery.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fishing...Finally!

Well, we escaped the snow, but it is still cold! Weather should pass though, so we are looking forward to next week. We ended up leaving really early Monday morning instead of Sunday afternoon like we had planned. We took off at 3a.m. Monday, and got in to New Orleans late that night. I was able to get out on Tuesday and run the boat some, and I was able to squeeze in a little fishing! The motor is now good and broke in, and all of my hardwork has come to a head. I was really happy with the amount of fish I was able to catch on Tuesday. Even though I was in an area that I couldn't fish for the classic, it still made me feel confident that I was able to catch numbers and size in the cold conditions I was up against. I really feel like I am a little bit more clued in to what to look for and do during official classic practice.

I don't have much for this post, but I want to keep everyone well informed during my time on the Delta! I will leave you with a picture of my best fish from Tuesday:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ice Road Truckers

This week has been absolutley crazy! With the horrible weather throughout the midwest, and trying to get everything ready to go for New Orleans, this has been a very intense week of preparation. My Dad and I left for Flippin Arkansas to pick up my new Triton at 5 a.m. wednesday morning. For those of you in a much more fortunate part of the country, let me fill you in on the weather situation Wednesday morning...The 2 days prior, we got pounded by sub-zero temperatures, 20-40 MPH winds, and almost a foot of snow! When we left Wednesday, we were greeted by temperatures in the -10 to -20 degree range! And the wind was howling on top of that! The roads got really nasty as we drove south through Missouri on our way to Arkansas. I am really glad we decided to take my hunting truck, as I have some big off-road tires on it that handled the snow really well.

I was excited to pick up the boat, but I wasn't excited about having to put some time on the engine before we headed to New Orleans. We drove from Flippin to Bull Shoals, and dropped the boat in. I put about a half hour on the engine in 15 degree weather and 20 MPH winds, needless to say it was miserable! We then drove back on icy, snowy roads with a boat in tow, and got home at about 11p.m. Now that is dedication right there! I am thankful to be back home safe and sound!

Today (Saturday) I am getting ready to pick up the boat from the wrap shop. I was lucky to get it in and out as quickly as I did. My hat is off to the guys out there at Sign Here who really helped me out! I am really excited about my wrap, it will be the sharpest looking rig I have ever had, so thanks alot guys! After I pick up the boat, I am heading to the shop and am going to work on getting everything loaded up. I have my new W&M rods all rigged up with my new Gamma line. I have my package from War Eagle full of my favorite jigs and spinnerbaits, and I have my package of Tightlines soft plastics to load in there. On top of all of that, we spent Friday night at Bass Pro in Olathe, and we literally closed the store down! So, I have my work cut out for me this afternoon!

I am really excited to get on the road. It will be a big relief once we finally leave, and have all of the pressure of preparation behind us. I haven't caught a bass since October, so I am so ready to get a line wet and set the hook on some Louisiana bass!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wrapping Up the Off-Season

We are coming down to the wire now that the month of January is almost past. We plan on heading down to New Orleans on February 6th. I still have a whole lot left to do before then, so this entire next week is going to be super busy. Let's see now, a couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to head out to western Kansas with some friends and neighbors of mine to do some pheasant hunting. I grew up pheasant hunting, so it was really a treat to get out and spend time with good friends and shoot a few birds. It wasn't a spectacular hunt by any means, but that is typical of a late season rooster hunt. I took off last weekend to the farm to take my tree stands down, and decided last minute that I would try and fill my last deer tag. Shot a nice fat, mature doe at about 4 p.m. last Sunday. It sure is gratifying to have filled all of my tags this season, even though I didn't shoot a buck.

During my spare time lately I have been organizing tackle and doing whatever kind of preparation I can do before we head south for the classic. I received all of my new rods and reels from Wright & McGill, and I am pumped to use them this season. I am also really excited to now have Rick Clunn on our W&M team! He will definitely bring a boat load of notoriety and experience to the table.

I also got my new truck this past month, and got it wrapped. It is a new Toyota Tundra, and Fulton really stepped it up and got it wrapped for me. It looks great, and will match the boat perfectly! Fulton worked with Tightlines, my boat wrap sponsor, to put together a wrap that would compliment the boat. I am really excited about it.

I have been doing my homework for the classic, and I am really pumped and am motivated to do well again this year. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the conditions will set up right for me. As long as there are no major weather changes, or heavy rains the fishing should be great. I am expecting/hoping the bite will be a pre-spawn slug fest. I plan on spending a day or 2 on the Atchafalaya Basin to get my groove back, because unlike alot of the other anglers on tour, I haven't had the opportunity to get on the water everyday or a few times a week. All the water around me is covered in ice right now, and still will be when I leave for the classic next week! So getting out ahead of time down there will definitely help me shake the dust off and get back into the groove of things.

That's all for now, but I will definitely plan on checking back in before I leave for New Orleans!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Closing One Chapter, Starting A New Chapter

Well, this deer season has been a real cat and mouse type of season. I never got my buck tag filled, which is alright I guess. I consider myself a good hunter, and don't need to put a buck on the ground every season. I took a few good does this season, and that is fine. I got to hunt the entire season, and feel fortunate to have been able to spend as much time in the stand as I did. Just the other night I was out to try and shoot a doe, and had a nice shooter buck come in within bow range! I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes though! Last Saturday I went out for the first day of doe season and got set up by 3:15, and had a doe dead on the ground at 3:45. I still have 2 more tags to fill, so I am going to do my best to get that taken care of this weekend.

Next weekend I am going out to Hill City with some friends to do a little pheasant hunting. I have been looking forward to this for a while. If we are lucky there will be some snow on the ground, and those late season pheasants will be holed up nice and tight in the grass. I'll definitely try and get some pictures of the hunt!

Right now I am starting to think about fishing a whole lot more. Production will start on my new boat this week, and my truck wrap will be all done next week. I am really excited about the way the weather is shaping up for the Classic. Right now New Orleans is on the dry side, which is going to make the fishing that much better. Right now the worst thing that could happen for the fishing down there is if a huge rainstorm blew through and dumped a bunch of rain into the delta. I think if it stays dry, we will be in for some good fishing.

We leave for New Orleans on February 6th, which is really coming up fast. There is still alot left to do, but I can't wait to get down there and get after my 10th Classic!