Our summer break gives us nearly two months between Bassmaster Elite Series events, so I’m enjoying my time at home. It’s always nice to be close to family, but this year’s especially meaningful because my oldest daughter, Hillary, will be going off to college in the fall, so I want to spend as much time with her as possible.
Hilary will be attending the University of Alabama, where she plans on studying business and finance. We’re getting ready to go up to Alabama to check out the dorm and get Hillary situated to move in during August.
This year’s kinda different, so I’m trying to cherish every single day. We’re about to close one chapter and open up another. But between now and then, we’ll just spend a lot of time together and get ready for this next phase of our family life.
I’m really proud to say that Hillary will go off to college with a great outlook and the tools she needs to be successful. I look forward to seeing her continue her fishing career, but I’m confident that she’ll do great in every aspect of her college life.
She’s been such a good girl; she’s been focused all through her high school career with all of her sports. We’re so proud of her. She’s a Christian girl; she doing it right. I’m very proud of her.
The biggest advice I’ve been giving her with regard to the fishing is get out there and learn as much as you can about different fisheries. The good thing about Alabama is you have so many diverse bodies of water, so she’ll be able to learn so much more about fishing.
Along with the family time, the summer break also allows me to take a break from bass fishing and enjoy some saltwater fishing. We’ll go down to the Florida Keys, where I keep an offshore boat, and we’ll go over to The Bahamas.
I enjoy targeting a variety of offshore and inshore species from sailfish and dolphin to snook and redfish. With the inshore fish, there’s definitely some crossover potential with bass fishing, but I prefer to keep the two separate.
Obviously, I love bass fishing, but I spend so much of my year focusing on this so I need a mental break. My saltwater fishing is totally opposite of my bass fishing, and that’s by design.
A lot of bass anglers that saltwater fish want to take their freshwater lures and go snook fishing. They want to throw their topwaters and skip jigs under docks and mangroves, which is very similar to bass fishing.
I’m the complete opposite. When I go snook fishing, I take my 10-foot cast net, and I catch every whitebait (aka scaled sardine or pilchard) I can find. I load my livewell, then I go anchor on a flat, we catch as many fish as we can and we have fun.
I prefer live bait fishing when I’m saltwater fishing because it’s a ton of fun. We have the speakers blaring, we’re jamming the music — it’s the complete opposite of what my normal tournament fishing day looks like.
When I’m bass fishing, I’m serious and I’m focused. I’m all about lures, and I’m trying to be quiet in the boat. It’s a totally different scene when I’m saltwater fishing.
I’ll be ready to go when the Elite Series resumes in late July, and a big part of that is allowing myself this time for a change of pace.