As the season quickly approaches, I kind of have to remember how to get into “tournament mode” because I haven’t been in a competitive fishing environment since July. I really live for that high-level competition, and to not have a taste of that for more than six months is pretty tough. I’ve tried to stay pretty active around my house and fish a lot near home, but that can only get you so far.
There’s a mentality and an intensity that you can only get from competing against the best of the best like we do at every event on the Bass Pro Tour. When you’re out there on the water and SCORETRACKER® is constantly in your ear, it makes you really develop those instincts and kind of a sixth sense for a lot of things. It’s something you can only develop when you’re in the middle of a tight race for the Top 20 or Top 10 in any given round.
It’s going to take a little bit of effort on my part to get back into fishing shape.
I know some people may see that phrase and think, “How in the world do you need to be in shape for fishing?” To that I say: Try being out on the water for eight hours a day, with your stress level and mental awareness elevated at the same time. When it’s hot and you’re tired and your arm is starting to hurt from casting so much, you’re going to understand exactly what I mean by “fishing shape.”
To try and get ready, I’m obviously spending a lot of time fishing, but I’m also doing a lot of physical labor around my house and doing shoulder, elbow and arm exercises. Just a little bit of work can make a massive difference for me once the season starts.
I just got to South Carolina for our first Cup event of the 2021 season. I’m really hoping to have a good showing at this Cup so I can get my competitive juices flowing again. Getting to see my fellow anglers again and getting to go up against them every day is something I don’t take for granted. I’m thankful for the opportunity to see another bass fishing season and hopefully, adding a Cup trophy and/or a Bass Pro Tour trophy to my mantle.
On the home front, I’ve spent a lot of my time fishing on Lake Martin, since that’s pretty close to me (actually, right out my back door). It’s always been my dream to live on the lake. Luckily, we were able to do that during this offseason and I feel like it’s really paid off during this six-month break for me.
The house has taken a lot of work to get ready to live in, but it’s finally starting to come together and really feel like home.
There’s only a few more weeks until we get this thing started and I’m extremely excited. Unfortunately, I won’t be at REDCREST this time around, but I’ll be ready to go for Stage One on Sam Rayburn in March. I look forward to seeing you all out there.