Back in the boat again

After several weeks of preparations to my fishing gear and a new boat I finally got to hit the road for Florida late last week to get ready for my upcoming bass tournament season. After some great winter weather over the holidays, when the recent cold snap hit, it was time for me to head south.
It is always a lot of work to get my boat ready for the new season. Thankfully I have some friends who are much more mechanically inclined than I am who help me to rig the electronics and equipment on the boat. It doesn’t seem like a huge job, but it is. I like to have a hand in doing it all myself because I want to make sure it’s done properly, it saves me some money and I have a better idea if I have to diagnose any potential problems with my boat throughout the season.
In addition to getting the boat ready, I had some fishing tackle to organize. You would think that while I was at home during November and December I would have spent more time getting my gear organized but I did not. I head to Florida for my first tournament then have four more events between early February and April, all in the Southeast U.S. I leave my boat and truck down south and fly home between a few of these tournaments so I have to bring tackle for a variety of lakes. You would think that bass fishing is the same everywhere but the reality is a lot of these lakes are different so they require a bunch of different types of tackle.
After the chaos of getting everything ready to go, my friend Jamie Bruce jumped in the truck with me to help make the big drive from Kenora to Florida. It’s 30 plus hour drive pulling a boat, especially in the snowy conditions we had for the first part of our trip from Ontario through Wisconsin. When we did finally arrive, it was depressing to see all of the salt and dirt all over my truck and new boat. It took me a solid half hour at the car wash to get everything cleaned up!
Having Jamie along for the ride was a huge help because it’s such a long haul. We took turns driving, switching off on every tank of gas and we made it. When we got to Florida we got straight to having fun, fishing and enjoying the nice weather. Another pal of mine, Bryan Gustafson was down in Florida to fish a tournament last weekend. His fiancé Bree Becker was along with him and my wife Shelby flew down. Finally, Bill and Nell Godin from Devlin showed up as well, so we have a wide open Northwestern Ontario party going on. We are all staying at a nice house that Bill and Nell have rented for years, we’re eating well and happy to be getting a break from the cold weather at home.
I have a couple weeks to relax before things get serious for me when my new fishing season starts up. We’re fishing and exploring several lakes down here, the time on the water is good for me because fishing the shallow lakes in Florida is not one of my strengths so hopefully the extra time will serve me well. I also like to run the boat hard and make sure everything is working properly.
I’m going to work hard on getting ready for my first tournament of the year, the first week of February on the St. Johns River in Central Florida. Stay warm up north and best wishes on the ice.