Dec 10th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Dec 10th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Competitors in any sport have some sort of pre-season preparations to help them excel at their chosen endeavor. Whether its football, baseball, golf or professional fishing you need to follow the old Army slogan, “Be Prepared”.
Like most professional sports, pro bass anglers need to not only get their bodies into the best shape possible for the rigors of the upcoming season, they need to have their finances in order and their gear ready for battle.
BassFIRST looks into the pre-season prep for pros fishing the BASS Elite Series, FLW Tour and Women’s Bassmaster Tour (WBT).
“I work out pretty hard in the off season. I also helped coached my step-son, Noah’s football team. He is 9 and played with 9 and 10’s. I am spending a lot of great time with my family.
“I am also hunting hard…..for a new title sponsor. I’ve spent a while turning over my boat and trying to help all the boat buyer leads for Bass Cat.
“I have been to one body of water in prep for next year. I might go to one or two more before we go there next year. I really would rather live the moment when I am there. In January, I am fishing two events in Florida that will get me back into game shape before the Elites kick off.”
“The off season for me is a time to reflect on what I did right and what I didn’t do right during the year. I have been spending a lot of time in the garage making and pouring baits that I am going to use next season. It’s also a great time for me to work on all those ideas for new baits and tweaking existing baits that I came up with in my mind while fishing all year long.
“I stay in shape by getting out at least two to three times a week on my Yamaha WR450F dirt bike and putting in a few hours each day for a good cardio and full body workout. It’s probably one of the best forms of total body workout you can do plus it is a lot more fun than running down a concrete sidewalk or staring at the walls while you lift weights. I usually work on my mental side of the game, also. This year I have been reading and working with the book “Mind Gym” which is a good read to get your mental game on track.
“I spend a lot of time going over the events for next season. I look at Internet reports, and past files that I have of the lakes I’ve been to before. Like Lake Guntersville; I fished it back when I was on the Bassmaster Tour, but FLW has not bee n there in many years so I have been working on that lake recently. The same goes for Table Rock. I go through every possible scenario of lures, line and tackle I will need at each lake so don’t have to go looking for it when I get there. I try to get every aspect of the game back on track for the coming year. I even have a big dry erase board on my wall in my bedroom. It has all of my goals and different areas that I am working on listed on the board. Every morning when I wake up I face that board and read through the list. It works for me really well.”
“Most of my pre-season routine is not as much about the fishing as it is about my sponsors. I spend most of the winter updating my resume and angler profiles on various websites. I place an order for a new tournament shirt as some of my sponsors usually change from year to year. I fulfill most of my sponsor obligations during the winter months by working at fishing expos and dealer shows and writing articles for magazines. I do make advance reservations for lodging at the upcoming year’s tournament locations and will research the lakes or rivers that are new to me. All of these pre-season activities keep me on track and focused…no time for ‘cabin fever’!”
“First of all my most important psych prep is not fishing or thinking about it – I spend as much time as I can in the fall hunting and visiting friends and family that have been neglected during the busy fishing season. I am a believer that too much thought being put into fishing is a recipe for disaster, because you get so set in your ways of how and where you will catch them rather than letting the fish tell you.
“The first of the year is when my focus turns back to fishing with the first tournaments being in January. My main focus is my tackle preparation, all of the tools I will use in the early spring that I want ready at my fingertips. There are always the standards that I check that I have enough of to last me through the season. For example, I will go through my line and my sure I have enough Stealth braid in sizes ranging from 10-to 80-pound test and then I order all new Berkley Spiderwire fluorocarbon in everything from 6-to 25-pound test and Berkley Trilene MAXX in 10-to 20-pound for my monofilament. It is so important to have all new line being that it is the only link between you and the fish and that is the last thing that should fail on you.
“As for rods and reels, I go through all my G. Loomis rods and check guides to ensure that they are not cracked from the last tournament of the year and then do inventory to make sure that I have not only all of the right rods for different applications but also to have a duplicate to have the ability to have an extra rod rigged for efficiency. I also go through all of my Abu Garcia Revos and Sorons checking the drags, stripping all of the old line, and making sure I have plenty in each speed for different applications.
“As for baits, I dig into the plastics to count up the inventory on the standards that I use at most lakes across the country – Berkley Slim shakey and shakey worms in green pumpkin and watermelon, Berkley power hawgs in green pumpkin, black blue, and junebug, and 10′ power worms in green pumpkin and junebug. These few plastics could carry me though an entire tournament season, but I also have to work on my hardbaits. I use almost exclusively Megabass baits and therefore there is virtually no time tuning baits but rather during some of my own modifications such as putting larger hooks on some of my Vision 110’s to get them to sink to fish in a little deeper water column. Then it is just a matter of getting two of each of the griffons, Dog-X’s, X100, and X200’s in colors I will use throughout the season and getting them in Plano boxes. I do have some favorites that I will take the old hooks off and put new on again for the New Year.
“After doing this much tackle prep, there is not much left to think about because while you are playing with worms and crankbaits fishing is the only thing on your mind and the more time you spend around it, the less likely you are to forget any of the necessities that will leave you on the water unprepared.”