I just spent the morning talking with fourth and fifth grade boys enrolled in the "Boys on the Move" program at Alamo Elementary School near my home. It's the school my sons and I attended.
The program is designed to promote a positive attitude, sportsmanship and an active lifestyle all positive traits you want youngsters to develop.
The school brings in community leaders and local people who have had success in their fields to tell their story to the boys and allow them to ask questions.
I told how I turned my hobby and passion for fishing into a profession and how they could do the same with their lives in whatever they want to pursue.
There were about 25 attentive kids there and they asked good questions. They wanted to know if I've fished tournaments outside the U.S., what states I've fished and if I've met any other celebrity sports figures.
It was a great way to spend another rainy day in Michigan, and I hope my story will be a positive influence on those kids.
I say "another rainy day" because that's all we've seen here since I returned from Toledo Bend. It even snowed the day I got home!
I've been trying to get down to my pond to test some new Strike King prototype lures, but the wind and rain makes it difficult for me to see in the water and know how the lures respond to my technique, not to mention to get the bass to bite in such cold, wet weather.
Of course, what we are getting here is nothing compared to parts of the South that have been ravaged by storms. I've got several fishing friends in the South and contacted as many as possible to make sure they were OK. So far, so good.
I'm a weather watcher, as it affects so much of what we do as pro anglers.
I've been monitoring the weather around West Point Lake, Ga., and Lake Murray, S.C. (sites of our next two Elite Series events), for several weeks. It's something I do before every tournament to track temperatures and weather patterns. It helps me formulate a basic game plan when I get to the lakes for practice.
Weather is particularly critical in the spring because it affects the spawn. I will watch the local forecast before I head out to practice in the morning and several times in the evening when I come in. Knowing where the fronts are coming from, how the wind will blow or change directions, sunshine and cloud cover it all plays into developing a solid game plan and fishing pattern. I want to know what's coming the next few days, so I can build my practice around what might happen as well as what's going on at that moment.
Regardless of the weather I'm facing, having that insight gives me confidence.
And, like I say, it's all about the attitude.