The new year is here and it has hit the ground running!
I canít believe how quickly time has passed since we rang in 2016, but I guess that's just a sign that Iím enjoying myself. Since Christmas, Iíve been in hyper-drive, enjoying a cross-country honeymoon, filming the second half of season 2 of Sweetwater and fishing some tournaments along the way.
Though we are but a few weeks into the year, I feel like 2016 has already brought a renewed confidence and focus. So far, here are a few of the highlights.
With the promise of a Bassmaster Central Open kicking the season off in Louisiana, as well as some early-season Sweetwater shoots, I knew leading into the holiday season that I would be making a little road trip south.
Katie and I had originally written off a honeymoon following our wedding last October due to financial and timing reasons, but with my business trip already bringing me across the country, we figured we would leave a bit early and make an impromptu honeymoon out of it.
Our trip, of course, began in California, and by way of the southern I-10 route, we visited some friends and family and even spent a very eventful New Year's Eve in New Orleans. Then we finally made it to our final destination in the Florida Keys.
With a solid 3 weeks together in an over-packed truck and boat rig, it was a great test of our compatibility, which I must say we passed with flying colors. Sure, the long travel days were getting a bit old, but overall, we survived the journey and really enjoyed our time together.
Katie flew home just before our first few filming dates.
Big "OĒ and Orlando
With the second set of filming for season 2 of Sweetwater slated for January, we all knew that Florida was an obvious choice.
How could I argue? I love Florida!
The author had a blast catching bass from a kayak in Florida.
However, filming immediately after the first Costa Series on Okeechobee wasnít really evoking an overwhelming amount of optimism after seeing the dismal weights being brought in, but we figured, "Hey, itís Okeechobee, we donít need a 30-pound day to make a great show.Ē
Fortunately we ended up cleaning up pretty well, with some really quality catches using some unlikely techniques, under the severe cold front conditions.
The next stop was to one of my favorite chain of lakes within the city of Orlando Ė a completely unique fishery that I enjoyed often during my college years at the University of Central Florida. Despite very tough conditions, we once again were able to produce a quality show.
The final stop before my partner, Joey, had to break for the first Southern Open was another clear-water private lake smack dab inside the city. This was my favorite episode to shoot yet, not only because we absolutely crushed them on a Z-man SwimmerZ swimbait, but we did it out of something other than a bass boat.
Old Town Canoes and Kayaks signed on this year as a show partner, and so we were both outfitted with their flagship fishing platform, the Predator XL, which has a built in 45-pound thrust trolling motor. We also had some Lowrance electronics, so we weren't exactly roughing it.
To say that Joey and I had fun fishing from the kayaks would be a major understatement. It was a very different experience from what we are used to as tournament anglers, and it will make for a pretty fun episode.
Currently, we are finishing our filming schedule in some more Florida locations that will also feature some really awesome fishing.
Another part of the trip to Florida was an excursion to Sign Zoo in Sarasota to get the boat and truck some new skins for the season Ė a wrap that features Huk apparelís logo and Kryptek camo pattern.
Huk has been a great company to work with and they have been seeing some pretty impressive growth in the industry with their extensive line of clothing, so I'm stoked to have them with me on my fishing endeavors this year.
Although it was beneficial to bring my boat with me across the country for filming and to get the wrap installed, the primary reason for bringing the double-axeled hitch hiker along was the Bassmaster Central Open even on the Atchafalaya Basin, which was slated for the middle of this month.
As you may have heard, this event got rescheduled for the end of October due to severe river conditions in the region.
Though I was not surprised, and I am adamant that B.A.S.S. made the right decision based on the safety of all involved, it is still nonetheless a disappointing situation, not only from a cost standpoint, but also from a fishing perspective. I was really looking forward to starting the season on the Basin because it would be a very exciting time of the year to fish it.
Another bummer is the fact that now itíll be the last Open of the year, meaning that coming up with the money Ė in the case of an Elite qualification Ė is going to be a rushed process, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
On the bright side, I'll now be able to make my way back to my wife early for Valentine's Day.
In the end, I am happiest when Iím able to stay busy in the fishing industry, and so far 2016 is turning out to be a good year. Despite the fast-paced start to a new season, I also want to make sure that I take time to enjoy the ride.
Overall, Iím satisfied with my positive movement toward my goals, but there's still a long road ahead.
Bring it on!
(Miles "Sonar" Burghoff is an aspiring tour pro and co-host of the TV series "Sweetwater." To visit his website, click here. You can also visit him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (SonarFishing) and Instagram (@sonarfishing).