Gearing Up for the Classic

The Classic is only a few days away. I'm on my way to Scott Rook's and from there I'll head to the Red River with my new boat. This is an exciting time of the year for me. I love fishing the Classic, and I love getting a new boat.

The boat is a lot of work. But it's work I love. It's really fun to pack it with new equipment and to do all the little things to it that personalize it, things that make it my bass boat instead of a bass boat.

Earlier this week I arranged my new KVD Quantum Tour Casting Rods — and several new spinning rods, too — in the boat along with a collection of Strike King prototype baits. And I have a new Biosonix unit this year as well as a Power-Pole. I can't wait to get started fishing with all of it.

Along with all the new tackle and equipment, my boat looks and performs great. There's a lot to putting a bass boat together for a professional angler. Tracker Marine does a great job with that.

All of us on their Pro Team have different wants, likes and needs (not to mention different equipment). I want my electronics and other equipment a certain way in the boat, but other guys want their boats set up differently. Our boats may look the same at first glance, but they're all individualized to meet our different fishing styles.

That could make maintenance tough. But it isn't because Tracker addresses the issue at the factory as our boats are being built. They have a man, David White, who watches everything as it's being put together. He's knows what, where, why and how everything is installed — screws, bolts, hoses, wires, fuses, circuit breakers, electronics, pumps and a host of other stuff — on our boats.

He's also in charge of the Tracker maintenance truck that's at every tournament. With his experience and knowledge of our boat he can get us back on the water quickly if we have a problem. It's a tough job, but David handles it with professionalism and good humor.

Of course, Mercury Marine and most of the other major manufacturers are there, too. They all work together. Every one of those guys will share technical information, experience, labor or tools whenever it's necessary to get one of us back on the water.

All this attention to detail allows us to fish without worrying about our boats or what will happen if something breaks. We need to worry about catching fish, not what'll happen if our boat breaks down. That's important anytime, but especially so in a Classic.

I'll be practicing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After that, I'll give you my take on the Red River, the bass and the 2009 Bassmaster Classic.