Focus and fish hard | Bassmaster


Focus and fish hard | Bassmaster

The new Bassmaster Elite Series season starts soon, so it’s time to put on the game face. A new year brings a lot of opportunity, but you have to

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The new Bassmaster Elite Series season starts soon, so it’s time to put on the game face. A new year brings a lot of opportunity, but you have to do the work on the front end. 

In terms of preparation, I’m a little ahead of schedule compared to last year. As I was about to start my first Elite season, I was running around trying to get my boat and truck wrapped right before the first tournament on the St. Johns River. This year, I have all that squared away well in advance.

Recently, I’ve been doing what I call “playing tackle” in my garage — getting all my baits out and getting things organized. I’ll put new line on all my reels and have everything sitting here on “go.”

There’s no real schedule, but I have to put my hands on just about everything in my boat and get it straightened up. It’s not necessarily perfect, but I put everything in order, get everything rigged and get all my baits set so I know where everything is before I get on the water.

I can’t just throw stuff in my boat and go fishing for the day. Just the thought that there’s a big mess of unknowns inside my rod locker, I can’t function.

That’s why, on the road, I’m often the last one to go to bed — I’m trying to organize my stuff. Again, it’s not like it has to be in perfect condition, but at least I know what I have and don’t have in the boat.

This has to be done, not only for the kickoff of a new season, but pretty much every day that I’m on the water. It’s all about efficiency and peace of mind. It’s a quirky little thing of mine, but it’s like being dirty — it’s a distraction that I cannot afford while I’m competing.

Along with the organizational efforts, I’ve been working on getting myself physically and mentally ready for this new season. I’ve been doing a lot of exercising, I’ve spent a lot of time on the Peloton, I’m trying to eat right and do all the things I need to do to get myself into competitive shape. 

That’s super important, because winning or losing boils down to one little thought — something you need to do, or a change you need to make. You have to be mentally ready to receive that thought, but you also have to be physically ready to act on it.

Another area I’ve worked on in the offseason is my perspective for this new year. Basically, I’m not putting any parameters on anything, I’m just going to fish my guts out and not worry about points. If I win, wonderful; if I finish dead last, of course I’ll be upset, but I’ll move on to the next tournament.

The last two years, I’ve worried about points, but I’m taking a different approach. What I’ve found is that there’s no time to go up and down on the emotional roller coaster — especially without much time between several of our events this year. 

Momentum is great, but I don’t care about the lows. The worst thing you can do after a tough event is get down, because you have to get ready for the next one.

Hopefully I can have a great year, but my goal is not about the points this year.

My motto for this year: “Focus and fish hard.”

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