Whew – it’s about time for me to pause and take a breath for a second! With a short production cycle and the Miami Boat Show – not to mention the loss of my only staff member – this issue has been a bear to get out the door. As always, the Miami International Boat Show lived up to all the hype, and Mother Nature couldn’t have been more cooperative. Boating fans of all shapes (some more interesting than others) and sizes were greeted with Chamber-of-Commerce weather – 75-degree days and bright blue skies. An upbeat mood seemed to be flowing throughout the show and I heard that some boats were starting to move again. Bertram threw an extravagant 50th-anniversary party and Hatteras unveiled a couple new additions to its GT line. Viking also posted a really cool gallery of its Miami offerings on the company Facebook page, so if you didn’t get a chance to go to the show, head on over to Viking Yacht Company on Facebook and you’ll feel like you were right there. The Big Game Room made a great place to hang out between parties and press conferences, and most of our sport¹s top dogs wandered through there at one time or another. Peter B. Wright and I gave a little talk on Marlin University on Friday and had a pretty good crowd. I say Peter and I – even though I pretty much just have to wind Peter up, point him at the crowd and let him go! They don¹t call him the Lauderdale Lip for nothing! If you sit and listen, however, you’ll come away from one of Pete¹s lectures a much wiser fisherman. Bo Jenyns – one of the world-class mates you see gracing our cover from time to time – launched a new line of wiring gloves under the Bo Jenyns Obadu tackle line. I for one wish him all the success in the world – Jenyns is one of our sport’s good guys. We’ll be sure to feature the gloves in an upcoming issue of Marlin. If Bo put his name on them, then they have to be world class. And although the Pelagic booth was well staffed, we still missed the California boys, Mike and Ron! Thursday night turned out to be a big night for me because I got to finally meet NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. Ever since Burton began building a 44 Jarrett Bay early last year, I was tapped to help pen his blogs on the project. I got to talk to Burton quite a bit and find out what a fellow goes through while trying to balance the rigors and challenges of a professional racing career with the joy of building his first custom boat. Burton didn’t shrink from the task and neither did Jarret Bay, delivering the boat on time, as promised, at this year’s Miami Boat Show. Burton told me repeatedly over the last few months that he was one of those guys who loved building things – his passion certainly comes through in the finished project. Burton made sure that saloon was well lit, with huge windows forward so he could pilot the boat during the winter season that he has off from racing. (“You don’t want to be driving around up top in North Carolina in January,” he says.) This ample light allowed him to go with a much darker wood than you¹d find on most of today’s sport-fishers, giving the space a deep, rich feeling. I think he did a fine job. Unfortunately, my association with Burton may have caused an unexpected consequence – I think I may have caught the NASCAR bug. It wouldn’t have been humanly possible for me to care less about the Daytona 500 before I got to know Burton, which is blasphemy for a Florida boy. But I sure was rooting hard for him a few Sundays ago. My wife is already searching for a cure. I’m leaving in a couple of days for Guanamar, Costa Rica and then I¹m heading over to Bimini for a special Marlin U for Hatteras Yachts – and I can’t wait until May when I get to fish in the BBC at Harbour Island! Spring has sprung.