(Editor’s note: Starting immediately, FLW Tour pro Shinichi Fukae has agreed to make regular blog contributions approximately once a month on FLWOutdoors.com.)
After finally getting back to the U.S., I have been crazy busy preparing for the upcoming Walmart FLW Tour season. As you know, December is the one of busiest times of the year for most people and I am no exception – although I am not crazy about Christmas shopping.
The most exciting news at this time of year is that I’ve got a new Ranger Z521C boat teamed up with Mercury 250hp ProXS motor and Atlas jack plate. The boat is wrapped with my sponsor brands, Cheez-It and Pringles, and it looks very nice (and visible).
I now have been working on the boat to finish everything up in time for the start of the season. I usually install all of my boat equipment – MotorGuide trolling motor, Power-Poles, GPSs and some other stuff – by myself. The reason I do this is so I can check and fix all of my equipment by myself in case I have to take it to a dealership or service center later on if issues arise. I also like having my own settings on my equipment and want to have some thinking time to make it better. I am also planning to break in the equipment once I complete the boat setup. I can’t wait!
At the same time, this part of the year is sort of the offseason for me. I finally have some time to organize my tackle as well as get all of my maintenance taken care of – as this is the only time of the year I can really get this type of work done. For example, because I use my motorhome to travel to tournaments, I need to get the coach serviced before the season starts since my wife and I travel together and usually won’t be back home for more than a half year – just like full-time RVers!
But the preparation doesn’t end there. On the tackle side of things, I start by assessing my inventory of rods, reels, lines and some lures; and then I place orders if there are any shortages. I also do some reel maintenance to keep them in good condition for the upcoming season. In addition to equipment maintenance, I also get my teeth cleaning done to keep myself in good shape.
For me, the first tournament of the 2014 season is the Rayovac FLW Southeastern Series event at Lake Okeechobee. I cannot believe it is only two weeks away! I will have the tournament report on my next blog and hopefully that will be good one.
With the 2013 nearly over, I would like to say once again, “Thank you all,” for the kind support of Team Fukae this year. My wife and I also would appreciate your continued support in 2014. I’m looking forward to seeing you next month.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year!