January 28, 2013 by Dave Lefebre
(Editor's note: Once again, veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the season. After every event, Lefebre will give his thoughts on tournament strategy, winning techniques and other behind-the-scenes stories/information that is compelling to our readers. The following blog provides a brief overview of the upcoming 2013 Walmart FLW Tour season.
The 2013 FLW Tour season is rapidly approaching and, for some reason, I'm more excited about competing than I've ever been. I can't wait to get out there and get back into shape both mentally and physically as we've been "off" for way too long. I've also been preparing myself to get at least six hours of sleep - something I neglected last year and paid heavily for during the first practice days at Okeechobee.
Right now, I'm still in the process of completely reorganizing my tackle and preparing for the upcoming season in my new garage and office. Although I enjoy the work, I promise you that I'm ready for it to be done (I'm out in the garage from early morning until late evening every day working). I've spent more than two weeks out there so far and probably need another two or three days. After that, I can then start pairing rods and reels, putting line on reels and getting the baits together that I will need for the first event in Florida. We also have to load the camper and get it ready.
It's hard to believe that we leave in just about a week. For sure, we're all excited to get moving southward and escape this arctic craziness.
The FLW season will be a lot shorter this year, but I'm definitely staying focused on the positives. Every event's importance is magnified more than ever and the urgency to win has never been more overwhelming. It will be challenging, but it is for everyone else as well, and I like that. Overall, I do feel strangely energized for a fresh start - of course, being pre-qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup helps.
I really like the schedule this year with the exception of Beaver Lake, although I'm starting to do a little better there as of late. The rest of the Tour schedule looks like it will be dominated by power-fishing and/or sight-fishing techniques, which I'm down with. I'm probably most excited about going back to Eufaula because I did well when we were there a few years back. During that event, I made the cut with a Terminator spinnerbait, but unfortunately I let the win slip right through my fingers. I think Guido won that one on some riprap somewhere?
I'm mostly nervous about the very first tournament of the year which is coming up in Florida on Lake Okeechobee. I always do well there, but my goal has always been to leave the Sunshine State "alive." Florida can make or break you as far as points and momentum go and that's why I get a tad more anxious when preparing for these Florida tournaments. It would be nice to fish down there with reckless abandon, but I'm leaning toward my usual philosophy of playing it safe for now, but who knows.
Our second event of the season will be held on Lewis Smith Lake, a place we've been to before and a lake I've done fairly well on in the past. We also have a new stop on the Tour this year in June on Grand Lake in Oklahoma, a lake I've never seen. I hear it should be a good event and our timing could also work out perfectly. I'm looking forward to that one for sure.
The 2013 schedule will conclude with two bodies of water that couldn't suit me any better - Lake Chickamauga and the Red River, the site of this year's Forrest Wood Cup. I've done well on the mighty Red in past events, but stumbled ridiculously on Chick in 2011 despite having the most incredible practice period of my entire life. I never saw so many 4-pound bass. I remember the water dropping drastically for day one and the fish I had found simply disappeared ... and that's all I'm going to say about that, other than I'm looking forward to some revenge there.
So overall, the short season looks promising to me. To fill in the gaps in the Tour schedule however, I may jump into some of the Northern EverStart Series events as that schedule is "loaded" with power-house fisheries. I always look forward to those tournaments as they feature good lakes, they're a little less stressful and I get to see some of the guys I used to fish with in the good old days ... fun!
Finally, aside from my usual partners in crime, I've added Igloo Yukon to my sponsor lineup for 2013 and beyond, as well as Terminator and Sufix, both Rapala lines. I've been with Rapala for several years now and I'm proud to be part of such a stand-up company who continually raises the bar on innovation and also supports tournament fishing 100 percent. My other great sponsors include Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Ranger Boats, Chevy Silverado HD, Mercury Outboards, Kinami Baits, Solar Bat shades, Dobyns rods, Lowrance HDS electronics and Power-Pole shallow-water anchors.
Well, I'll check back in after the season opener on Lake Okeechobee with my first FLW Tour Recap. Don't forget to play Fantasy Fishing and watch the "live" weigh-ins from Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina in Clewiston, Fla., beginning at 3 p.m on February 7. I'm ready ... it's going to be an awesome season!
To read more about Dave's life on the road, check out On Tour With Dave and Anne, sponsored by Chevy. Throughout the 2013 FLW Tour season, Dave and his wife, Anne will be keeping a detailed blog of their experiences while traveling the country in their Chevy Trucks.