Alton Jones' changes in diet and exercise have put him in great physical condition. Photo by Garrick Dixon

So many people have New Year’s resolutions, but I have a “New Tour” resolution, and it started long before the new year.

I came to grips with the new format of the MLF Bass Pro Tour I’d be fishing, and it made me realize I’d need a change for sure. I needed to become healthier and more fit if I was going to succeed fishing a season-long tour with the physical demands the MLF Bass Pro Tour format brings.

So I changed up my lifestyle a bit. I realized that at my age I needed to be in better shape because I can’t recover as fast in my 50s as I could in my 20s. I started out weighing 230 pounds and not being in shape. I never thought I’d be able to run again without a lot of pain. My goal was to get down to 195 pounds.

As I write this, I weigh 189 pounds.

I have to say, I’m proud of my achievement. I love to eat, and anyone who knows me knows that. I’ll go into my diet at another time. No “Mr. Universe” workouts for me. I just changed my eating habits and started to walk.

As my program progressed, I’ve built up to walking about 2 miles a day and running about ¾ of a mile too! I thought that would never happen, but lo and behold, I’m doing it! My aching back has gone away with the weight. The physical fitness certainly will help the mental fitness on the water this season. I can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.

After the first event, I have to say I didn’t know I could feel this excited and engaged again. I felt as excited as a young man entering his first club tourney. I’m so thankful to be fishing this tour.

Ready for Lake Conroe

Now for Lake Conroe. I have some experience there, and I expect some big bass to be caught for sure. It’s a real trophy lake.

I’ll likely start fishing with a ⅜-ounce double willow leaf War Eagle spinnerbait. I’ll let the water clarity dictate the skirt color. The other lure is a ⅜-ounce Booyah jig in black and blue.

I’ll fish both baits methodically and slowly. The fish aren’t fired up yet, but they could be with a warming trend.

The afternoon bite will likely be the best as the lake warms. If you’re out fishing during pre-spawn, look for the wind blown shoreline, it’ll have the warmest water temperatures. Fishing like this works in many areas of the South during pre-spawn conditions.