What a year!

I'm at Lay Lake trying to get ready for next year's Bassmaster Classic. Obviously, the fish will be responding differently in February, but I want to learn as much about the lake as I possibly can before it goes off-limits.

While I'm down here working on that, I can't help but think about what a crazy year 2009 has been. It started off on the Red River with me finishing second behind Skeet Reese. I'll tell you straight up that was a killer disappointment. A second Classic title would have been a real accomplishment.

If something like that doesn't hurt, you're in the wrong business. Opportunities to win — especially a Bassmaster Classic — only come along so often. You have to take advantage of them.

Then, at our first Elite Series event I forgot my wallet — left it in the truck — and didn't enter the big fish pot. I caught the biggest one. How's that for luck? Any of you guys out there ever do anything like that?

Nevertheless, I'm not complaining. I had a good season. I won the postseason event on Lake Jordan and ended up finishing fourth in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. There's no way to grumble about that, especially given the level of competition in the Elites.

Naturally, the best thing of all was my relationship with Becky. I asked her to marry me at ICAST in Orlando in July. I was thrilled when she said yes. We were married in October. That was the best part of my year.

In between all of this, Pete Gluszek and I put together our fishing school called The Bass University. We had to schedule four sessions around the country and get our pro speakers all lined up. That's a ton of work. It's the kind of work we love, though — helping other anglers improve their skills.

Finally, I've started writing this weekly blog. Again, it's a lot of work but it's the kind of work I like to do. Hopefully, as you guys read it you'll get some tips that'll help you catch more bass. That's my goal, anyway.

Speaking of that, I need to get back to my scouting on Lay Lake. So, until next Friday...