On Site at Lake Okeechobee

Well, I’m in Okeechobee this week and I'm glad to be down here.

Finally got out on to Lake Okeechobee and the weather is really nice. You know typical Florida weather, high 70’s during the day, with high 50’s to low 60’s overnight it's great.

I’m really looking forward to getting up in my boat and have a good time. I spent some of the pre practice time breaking in the new Yamaha 250 SHO motor, and that went really well.

Fishing seems like it's gonna be really good, everybody's gonna have limits because there’s lots of little fish out there right now; you can pretty much catch them any way that you want.

It’s been good to get down here and see all the old friends and stuff. I guess my offseason workout routine was good, because everyone’s telling me how much thinner I got, but I’ve just been telling them it’s my Team Bass ADX gear that makes me look thinner.

I was really happy to be back out here after a long winter and the long drive, you know. Once I got here I shot some video and did some photos and stuff while I was out here, just taking care of business as usual.

We start on Thursday and tomorrow on Wednesday will be G.T.L. day; you know, gym, tanning and laundry day. I’ll wake up in the morning and hit the gym, then maybe out by the pool, but I don't need any more tanning, I'm already tan and get some laundry done.

I’m really ready for Thursday and excited about the first of the tournament year. I can't wait to really kick it off this week, you know I'm looking forward to it; it should be fun.

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Headin' East in the Cocoons Rig!

I’ve picked up my Ranger Z521 and Yamaha 250 SHO from Liquid Wraps in Phoenix, Ariz. after they installed my Cocoons wrap, and now I’m headed east; Okeechobee here I come.

I’m caravanning with Brent Ehrler, which makes it nice to have someone to share the miles with. It’s a long way to the other side of the country, and traveling in pairs gives you some backup in case something happens.

We’ve got about three more days ahead of us, and once we get there, I’ll find a body of water to go play on until practice officially opens. I’m getting excited about the tournament season starting, and I want to rip some heads.

Like I said last week, I was at the Sacramento ISE show working for my sponsors, Ranger, Yamaha, Lowrance, Navionics, Daiwa and Team Bass Adx clothing line. My deal there was to work their booths, meet people and take part in the Bass Round Table seminar, as well as do one of my own.

The round table was on Saturday, and the place was packed; The round table was cool, I was up there with National pros, Skeet Reese, Papa Mur (John Murray) and Cody Meyer. Gary Dobyns was there from the west, it’s always interesting to hear his perspective.

They pass the microphone through the audience and ask us questions, we all take our turns answering them. Sometimes the back and forth gets a little heated between us. I think the audience digs it.

Sunday’s crowd; not so much. I know football playoffs were a big deal, but I thought it would be bigger overall, but oh well; I was there to meet and greet. The slow day on Sunday gave me the chance to do some filming for my sponsors, I went into the Lowrance learning center with Tshombe Moore, my local Navionics rep and filmed a whole deal on how to use Navionics features for planning and on the water.

Well, I’m staring at the windshield of my Cocoons rig burning up the miles and the cell phone minutes. When I talk to you next, I’ll be on Okeechobee – Later.

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Dubs, Rigs, Wraps and Shows

Okay, I’ve got my boat setup, C&C Marine in Modesto rigged it to my specs, and now it’s at Liquid Wraps in Phoenix getting the Cocoons wrap installed on the truck and boat.

My Ranger is tight, I’ve got things exactly as I want them, and Richard over there even figured out how to store my spare trolling motor in the battery storage area so that it’s out of the way. Last year, I removed my middle rod rack so that I could put it in there, but with the new MotorGuide Tour Digital 109 that has the Lowrance transducer built in, I couldn’t fit it in there; Richard fixed it.

What that means is I have more room for tackle. I’ve got more tackle in my boat now than ever before, but it’s more organized too.

I’ve also got the boat ridin’ on 20’s again; I put those on the trailer before I pulled out of town to head to Liquid Wraps. I hear some people say they wonder why we go to the extremes we do with our rigs, but understand; it’s all about eyeballs to us.

The more people that see our trucks and boats, the more visibility we are generating for our sponsors. Cocoons tells me they know where I am in the country based on where the visits to their website are coming from when I’m on tour. My truck makes people look, and that’s why my sponsors work with me, to try and get more people to look; ya know.

Anyway, I’m basically tying up loose ends around here. I’m going to be at the ISE Show at Sacramento this weekend. I’ll be there for the Round Table deal with Skeet, Gary Dobyns, Cody Meyer and Mike Long. Those discussions are always lively and informative, so that will be fun.

While I’m there, I’ll be doing a seminar on Sunday, but I’ll also be spending a little time with Ranger, Lowrance and with Team Bass Adx clothing. The Sacramento show is always the best one of the year around here, and now that it’s the only one, I bet it’s going to be even bigger.

After the show I’m going to a Golden State Warriors versus San Antonia Spurs game on Monday, then I fly to Phoenix to pick up the truck and boat, and it’s on to Lake Okeechobee for the first FLW Tour Open of the year. It’s just about time, and I’m ready to get to work.

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On the LLOONNGG Road Home from Flippin

I’m on my way home right now driving from Arkansas with my brand new Ranger Z521 behind me.

I pretty much can't wait to get home, and I won’t be home until tomorrow night. I’m ready to get there because I hate the snow and ice, and that’s all I see right now on this drive back from Flippin. The other thing is, when I’m sitting in my truck, I can’t work out, or get any real work done.

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks, when I get out of the snow and back to Cali, I’m taking the boat to C&C Marine in Modesto and get it ready. You know, get the Yamaha 250 SHO Four Stroke on there as well as the Lowrance HDS units on there and pretty much be ready to leave next week for Phoenix to get the wrap installed.

It would be huge if I could get the Cocoons wrap on the boat quickly over at Liquid Wraps, because once everything's in place and the wrap’s on; it’s game time.

I’m ready to spend a couple of days on the boat show scene at the ISE boat show in a couple of weeks in Sacramento. I’m going to be a part of the Ultimate Bass Round Table on Saturday at 12:30PM with Skeet Reese, Gary Dobyns, Mike Long and Cody Meyer. I’m also going to do a seminar of my own on Sunday at 1:30.

Other than that, I’ve pretty much got nothing else going on. I’m watching a lot of fishing on T.V., and just getting ready and fired up for the season.

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See you next time.

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Pickin' up the Z521

I told you I was really getting into my favorite techniques this year, well I did it, I’m really in Flippin.

I’m in Flippin, Ark. waiting to pick up my new white, black and blue Z521. Getting here was easy enough, and once they finish the boat, I can start heading back to Cali. They’re just a little ways away from taking it over to the finishing room. That’s where they install fishfinders, hang motors and do little final touch ups.

They’ll be putting my Lowrance units on the boat, and doing a few other things, but my Yamaha SHO 250 Four Stroke is at my home dealer, C&C Marine in Modesto waiting to get hung on the transom when I get home. Between the Ranger plant and C&C Marine, my boat gets the best workmanship.

I thought I was going to be stressed here in the hotel room, but it’s the opposite. I’ve been able to focus on work, and concentrate on getting my mental game in shape. I’ve also been working hard on getting my body in shape too, even here; I’m working at it in the hotel fitness room.

I’ve come to realize that the difference between all of us is our mental game. All of us can cast, all of us can find quality fish at this level. All of us are capable at winning just about any tournament we enter. What separates us is our heads. Skeet and Kevin are always good; they always catch ‘em. The difference for them is that when they go on a tear, they fish like Skeet did last year.

When others hit our strides, we might catch up to where they normally compete at, and I want to get to where my normal performance is really good, and my best is almost untouchable. I’ve also taken a page out of the recent success Michael Vick has had this year. He said he knew he would have to have an attitude to be as ready as he could be to avoid distraction; and he’s had an MVP season.

I’m still deciding about fishing the Shasta FLW Everstart event in a couple weeks. I really want to, but am thinking that it might create too much pressure on me to get everything done in time to go east.

Outside of that, I’m working on a couple of signature kits with my sponsors at Snag Proof and Paycheck Baits that will be available at my Yo Ish store. The Phat Frog kit will have two Phat Frogs, and all of the stuff you’d need to modify a frog, pens, pliers, glue – they’re ready for everything. My Punch kit will have my three favorite Paycheck Punch Skirts, some 4/0 and 5/0 Punch Hooks, Punch Stops all n a 3600 size Plano box. People will be able to pick up one of these kits and have almost everything they need to go froggin’ and punchin.’

I’ve also been working on a few exclusive Phat Frog colors for a few dealers. Ishalicious will be at Bass Pro Shops, Blowin’ Smoke and Explosive will be at Monster Fishing Tackle and Fred’s Frog Color will be at Tackle

It’s getting’ close to game time.

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