I made my first boat-show appearance of the year last weekend. It was nice to be around fishing people again! And the smiles I saw on their faces leads me to believe that the national press is missing the boat—the economy is improving.
I was a guest speaker at the Nashville Boat and Sport Show, sponsored by Progressive Insurance. Nashville, which abounds with lakes and rivers, offers so many opportunities within two hours of the city, anglers have a hard time choosing a body of water to visit! The aisles were packed with fishermen that had done their homework. I saw buyers at the show! Very serious buyers!
I don’t think the economy is perfect, but what I saw in Nashville was a good sign. And while I understand that some areas remain depressed with the loss of jobs, it was refreshing to see smiling people excited about opportunities! Working in the Skeeter Boats booth, I spoke to so many fishermen interested in a new bass boat I literally lost my voice late Sunday afternoon.
The glass in Nashville is half full! I’m just sick of the negativity that the national media has spun. Our economy is getting better. In baby steps maybe, but better. This is exciting to see!
Reel-ality TV, Swamp People and a Man Named “Fish”
This week will find me working on a new video project. I came home to find a huge box sent by the folks at TackleWarehouse.com. The box did not contain a single Strike King lure! No Lew’s Reels. It held a new video camera! I now have a portable camera to film a weekly video segment. This will be a new venture for me and it will certainly be a challenge.
My skills in dealing with electronics, computers, and engines are virtually non-existent. Thankfully, my wife can do all of this—except change the oil in my Yamaha 4-stroke outboard!
This year, several cast members from the popular television show “Swamp People” will appear at the event. Not only have I watched “Swamp People” a few times, I’ve gone on a couple of gator hunts. That was years ago, while pre-fishing in the Mississippi River Delta. Not your ordinary day on the water!
This will be a fantastic event. My longtime friend, Fish Fishburne (pictured, at right), will be speaking. We have a long history together, dating back to fishing tournaments in the late 80’s. I’m really looking forward to catching up with the true “Clown Prince of Bass Fishing!”
On the mend
Through all of the appearances, I found time to get to my orthopedic doctors in Huntsville, Alabama. Strike King Lure Company, the Huntsville Hospital and The Orthopedic Center (TOC) of Huntsville have a very special relationship. The Huntsville Hospital and the TOC are the health-care providers for the Strike King Pro Team. They work together to help any of us with health issues.
I am dealing with a very painful tendonitis problem and shoulder pain. The gang at the TOC took several X-rays of my right elbow and right shoulder and gave me two shots of Cortisone and anti-inflammatory medicine for the tendonitis. The shoulder has an impingement that will require surgery this fall—my second shoulder surgery. My left arm had the same issues five years ago and it’s been great since the surgery.
The Huntsville Hospital and the TOC have kept the Strike King team together for several years. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I have experts in medicine a phone call away! It’s a real luxury to have this attention while on the road.
There is so much more to the world of a professional fisherman that most realize. Travel planning, frequent flyer awards, and hotel points are at the top of the list for a while. As we get closer to the month of March, I will get on the water. Until then, it will be travel. I just might get a few workouts under my belt, continuing the therapy on my elbow.
I promise that I will do my best not to spread any negativity in the press. If the press would come to a boat show, they might get a snapshot of the fishing world—smiling happy people!
Like my elbow, our economy is on the mend.
* * *
Mark Menendez is a 20-year veteran of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and at his website.