Be at the Classic

Tomorrow's the first day of competition. I'm ready to get started. I'm doing Mike & Mike in the Morning and then it'll be time go fishing. I'm ready to get this thing underway.

But, rather than talk about that let's take this opportunity to highlight what's available for the fans at this year's Bassmaster Classic. It's challenging for all of us professional anglers to spend as much time with our fans as we'd like.

Given our fishing schedule, media obligations and other professional commitments we have very little free time for anything else. That's not the way we like it but it's the way it is. So, we have to deal with it.

Recognizing that challenge, we — all the anglers, BASS and our host city, Shreveport-Bossier City — have worked really hard to make this Classic the most fan friendly one ever. That's our goal and we're doing our best to achieve it.

Believe me when I say that our fans are what this sport's all about. We know better than anybody that without you none of this would be possible. That's why all of us have worked so hard to make this Classic a success.

One of the best things available for the fans is the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods. It's the Bassmaster Classic trade show. Most of the major manufacturers have a booth and many are offering "show only" specials.

I have my new signature series Quantum spinning rods available for sale here. The only place you can get them right now is here at the show — in the Quantum booth. It's a heck of an opportunity to pick up a couple before they go on the market.

There'll also be a special collection of Strike King Series 5 Crankbaits that I've autographed for this Classic. There're only available at this show and can be purchased at the Strike King booth.

And Biosonix will have their new unit here, the RF-300. We — all the guys on their pro staff — have them in our boats this week. I'm excited about the opportunity to fish with it. It's the real deal; this is a chance for you to get ahead of the game with one before your tournament season gets started.

StowMaster will be here, too. They make a great folding, easily stowed landing net that's great for bass fishermen. I know we can't use them but most guys can so you want to be sure to check them out.

At my booth we'll have lots of autographed high-quality clothing as well as autographed copies of my books for sale. We're also giving away one of my jerseys from last year. All you have to do to have a chance to win it is stop by the booth and sign-up. It's free.

While you're at my booth make sure you check out the guitar that was made for me by the students from the woodshop program — WoodshopRocks — at the Buljan Middle School in Roseville, Calif. It was a gift for my winning the 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. The workmanship is extraordinary.

I also have several other Classic promotions on my Web site,

Oakley sunglasses and Plano tackle storage systems are involved right now and several others will be up and running over the weekend. Make sure you check it out.

And that's only a small percentage of what's here. Several pros who aren't fishing the Classic will be available to answer your questions, sign autographs, pose for photos and help you pick out the right equipment to meet your fishing needs.

Those of us who are fishing the Classic will be available as well, depending upon our scheduling commitments. Regardless, you can see us at the launch in the mornings and at the weigh-in in the evenings. We'll sign autographs and pose for photos if we possibly can.

All in all, this is a great opportunity to meet and greet us; to gain some fishing knowledge; to get some new, state of the art equipment; and to have a lot of good, family type fun. This is as much your Classic as it is ours. We want everyone to have a good time.

And, last but not least, there's no admission fee for any of these activities. When's the last time you saw that at a major sporting event?