I’m sure you can relate to the feeling: You go on an amazing vacation that wicks away all the worries of your everyday life and you have a blast – so much so that you wish you could live in that moment forever.
Then, WHAM! It’s all over, and you have to get back to reality and you feel as though you left a piece of yourself behind.
That vacation for me was the recent Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport a few weeks ago. Now that I'm back home in Orlando (not for long), I can't help but reminisce upon my recent trip to our Super Bowl.
I’ve said it many times before – we have the very best sport in the world when it comes to the people in the industry, the media, the competitors and the fans. This means that bass fishing’s premier event condenses so many of these great people into a very tiny geographic area, which this year happened to be the wonderful town of Shreveport.
The thought of getting to hang out with so many great people made the 16-hour trip from Orlando seem much longer. Luckily I was traveling with some good friends, so I was already in good company, which made the trip bearable.
We made it to the Holiday Inn around noon, and as soon as we checked in and got the baggage up to the room, I hopped in the shower, threw on some clothes and headed straight over to media day to meet up with some friends and get some fuel for future columns.
After media day, I ended up hanging out a little with some friends from the Oakley Big Bass Tour for an hour or so, and then I finally ended up at the convention center to meet up with Brad and Liza Altman at Topwater Clothing.
Brad and Liza have been like family to me and I couldn’t wait to spend time with them since the Classic is the only time we get to see each other. I ended up going to dinner with the Altmans and a couple other friends from Team Topwater.
I won't get into the details of the rest of the evening, but I will say I finally got back to the hotel a little later than I should have, especially after a restless 16-hour haul from the Sunshine State.
Workin’ For A Livin’ (Sort Of)
Friday morning was like waking up Christmas day. I couldn’t wait to get to the Classic Expo!
I was scheduled to work at the Topwater Clothing booth all day on Friday. I got to the convention center a bit early so I could do my pre-madhouse look around the Expo. I was so excited to see all the new products out there, and to talk with many of the people working the booths.
Kid in a candy store, I’m telling ya!
Back at the Topwater Clothing booth, I probably pretty much just got in Liza’s way the entire day, but the three of us had a great day selling products that people enjoyed.
Secret Lures, another one of my sponsors, who was unfortunately not able to make it to the Classic this year, ended up doing a cross-promotion with Topwater where if you bought a certain amount of TC product, we would give you some of Secret Lures' new products. Their new swimbait heads for A-Rigs were a hit!
The coolest part was that Secret Lures made some awesome little postcards to promote their product and they had my picture on them, so there were a lot of kids wanting me to sign them. I was probably more excited to get asked to sign them than they were to get my signature. It was an honor.
Saturday and Sunday were a little more of the same with Topwater, but I also worked at the Lazer Trokar booth the last half of both days. Being able to work for Trokar was great because I only just recently officially started working with them, though I have been using their hooks since the beginning.
It was also great to see the Trokar guys, especially my friend Marty, since he has been a source of encouragement and moral support in the past and has helped me out with several opportunities. It was just good to be able to give back a little, I guess.
One thing I relish about the Classic is the fact that after the Expo ends, the nightlife begins! It is just too cool to be hanging out, having a good time with your friends, and surrounded by the “big dogs” of the sport, since everybody pretty much hangs out in the same places.
I always bring my best clothes to the Classic – real nice pair of jeans, some legit dress shoes, and of course I always sport my TC gear. I don’t get much time to have a nightlife at home, so I like to do it right when I get the shot at the Classic.
For the most part I hung out with my friends at Topwater and the Trokar crew quite a bit, but being a guy who likes to hang out a little with everybody, I did quite a bit of hopping around from group to group.
I was like a Labrador in a room filled with people whistling and holding tennis balls. It was hard to stand still!
In the end, the most exciting thing about the 2012 Classic was the overall energy flowing through the Expo, and from what I heard, at the weigh-ins as well. There was such as huge crowd and everyone was amped up.
After another Classic, I can tell you right now that I am as excited about the future as ever. After seeing the amount of passion for fishing rolling through the aisles, the doors and up the escalators, there is little anyone can say to convince me that this sport isn’t strong and getting stronger.
Like I say every year: I cant wait until next year! Good times, and good vibrations at the Bassmaster Classic.
P.S.: Congrats to Chris Lane! What a class act and a deserving champion!
Miles "Sonar" Burghoff is a student at the University of Central Florida and the winner of the 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. He's an aspiring professional angler who writes a regular column for BassFan. To visit his website, click here. You can also visit him on Facebook and Twitter.