Already gearing for another FLW Tour

With the close of the non-resident deer-hunting season late last week, my guiding business that’s kept me busy for the past month-and-a-half or so is finished up.
After a busy summer fishing, then a shift right into deer season, I’m looking forward to a little bit of downtime around home.
I can’t say that I’m not still busy, but it’s a little more relaxed than all of the fishing, hunting, and travelling that I’ve been doing over the past several months. Since May, there really haven’t been that many mornings when I haven’t woken up at 5 a.m.
The biggest news for me right now is that I paid my deposits last week to fish the Walmart FLW Tour again in 2014. Thanks to some great sponsor support, I’m getting a great opportunity to do something I have a lot of passion for so I’m very excited.
Though my results this past year were not quite as good I would have hoped, I feel like I learned a lot to help make next season a little bit easier.
There are six events on the schedule again, starting in February at Lake Okeechobee in Florida. I have fished tournaments at Lake Okeechobee each of the past two years and it’s funny because last year my tournament there was, by far, the worst one that I’ve had fishing these events over the past two years.
I ended up catching a five-fish limit each day, but they all were small fish that landed me in 156th place in a field of 175 anglers.
The year before at Okeechobee, I had my best finish at this level—making the Day 3 cut and finishing 20th.
I’m looking forward to getting another shot at this lake because I feel like I know what I should be doing there.
Of the six tournaments on the FLW Tour next year, I have fished at three of the lakes over the past two years, including Okeechobee. The two other that I’ve been to—Beaver Lake in Arkansas and Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas—were both lakes that I had good finishes at so I’m happy to get to go back to both of them.
There also are three bodies of water that are new to me: Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, Pickwick Lake in Alabama, and Kentucky Lake in western Kentucky—all southern reservoirs that look a lot different than the natural lakes we have here in Sunset Country.
Starting now, I’m trying to do as much research as I can on these different lakes (mostly online stuff, trying to learn what I can so that I’ll be as prepared as I can be when I show up for the week of the tournament).
There also is a lot of preparation in putting together travel plans. These tournaments all take place between February and the end of June, so it works out good with our tournament season in Northwestern Ontario.
Since the travel is so far to these southern destinations, I will be leaving my boat and truck down there and flying back and fourth between events.
There are hotel rooms to book and some sponsor commitments to plan, which include taking people fishing around these events and attending sport shows.
In between all my planning to go fishing, I have a bunch of writing assignments piled up to keep me busy. They are kind of like homework because these magazines will give you an assignment—usually a few months out from a due date.
Since I’ve been so busy in the field over the last few months, I haven’t been overly motivated to write so I’m picking away at them now and getting them done.
Writing generally comes pretty easy for me, but it can get time-consuming. If I can get a few jobs finished up now so I’m not writing them the night before they are due, it feels pretty good!
Meanwhile, we still have a few weeks left in our resident hunting season, so I will be sneaking out from time to time to get my outdoors fix.
I still have a deer tag to try and fill, and some friends and I have a moose hunting trip to Red Lake planned for December, which I’m looking forward to.