The Nissan has just shy of 120,00 miles; almost 30,000 of those miles came from last year. It definitely does not have that new truck smell – more like fish slime and dirty clothes mixed together.
The R-Pod, our camper, has new tires and a new fender; the old fender blew off when the tire exploded just outside of Tennessee after leaving the Santee Cooper tournament.
The Tennessee trailer has a new tire and fender; somewhere in Illinois, a deer ran head first into it on the way from LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
My garage looks like a small tackle store exploded, leaving remnants everywhere; not to mention the four kayaks that consume every free inch of space that once existed there.
I blew out my favorite pair of flip flops wading in Arkansas’ Beaver Lake while trying to find water less than 70 foot deep; bought some of the ugliest I have ever seen at a Dollar Store in Toledo Bend.
Drove over eight hours to several tournaments so I could sleep in parking lots for an hour or two (often less), then drive back home; was awakened at Guntersville by a car that had parked beside me – the occupants were, well, it was a guy and a gal…you fill in the story.
Ran over a brand new Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon paddle, broke two rods, kicked four others off the kayak (fished them out)…lost the cover off my depth finder in South Carolina…had a fish knock my identifier out of the boat in the first hours of the Hobie Open on Kentucky Lake….sat on my iPad…ate a dry biscuit off the floorboard of my truck because I forgot to pack food for a 24 hour tourney…
…retired my favorite rod (crying) Read about my old friend
….Made many new friends, but lost a good one in Louisiana…#goldenhour….
…and I just finished planning my vacation days and sent it to the folks I work with; this year, I will (again) fish my vacation away. I booked a room and signed up for Bienville Plantation this month…signed up for the Hobie BOS at Chickamauga…
I did make those new friends, and have some great memories of conversations on the water and at tournaments; memories with my Joy on those trips.
We ate at some great local places, visited a Buddhist Monastery, lighthouses, stayed on the beach, carried dishrag camping…visited way too many Pilot stations….a yarn store or three…collected drift wood and rocks from some of the most beautiful shores in America!
I fished many great bodies of water; caught my first walleye, my first pike…placed high enough in enough tournaments to believe that I will win one, or more, this year.
Made it into a KBF video or two; even if they called me Matthew during my seventh place finish at the National Championship (smiling)…I got my fifteen minutes of fame while fishing with Brad Case in Arkansas.
I was blessed with the opportunity to represent Caney Fork Outdoors on their fishing team, and am being added to their Hobie Fishing team. Both opportunities will allow me to talk about, teach kayaking and fishing while getting others in kayaks…snd share the passion for fishing that has existed in me since I was a child; all while doing something I love.
I could go on about the reasons I am going to be willing to drive countless miles and hours just to close my eyes long enough to pretend I slept…on and on about the fish I hope to catch….the friends I know I will make this year…I thought a long time about not doing it again…
But I have to admit that a big factor in in doing it is because I am married to a beautiful woman who believes in me, who encourages me to dream. She supports me, eats bad food all across the country with me…laughs with me on the long rides. She tells me that all I have to do is catch bigger fish…suck it up buttercup. My Joy tells me that I need to “fish with soul” when I get so wrapped up in myself that I forget I am fishing after all – when I forget the love of it and make it a chore; not to take a bad day so seriously.
Listens when I tell her to not buy me a new kayak…wait, technically buying a non refundable gift certificate for the cost of one is the same…so maybe that last one ain’t true! But I am fortunate beyond description to have been stalked by her….she may not agree to my version of our first days…but I am the one typing so….
I cannot make you understand the why I will, or what it means to travel across the states just to chase a bass or two….but that was not my intent. This post was really just to convince myself that I am not insane….I failed, reading this it makes no sense…but I am heading to the garage to clean up the pile of senkos, spinner baits, crank baits…yes, a jig or two…because I absolutely love fishing tournaments from my Hobie and need to pack it up and get ready. Here we go 2019!