With Election Day just around the corner, I wanted to get on my soap box for a minute and ask everyone to get out there and vote. Don't just vote based on what you see on the news, do a little research about what matters to you and find the right people to vote for.
Over the years, I have had several opportunities to fish with soldiers. With the vote coming up, it really made me think about why we have the ability to vote. We only have the ability to vote because these soldiers risk their lives, get injured and, all too often, lose their lives so that we can go into that voting booth and select the people we want to run our county. We owe it to them to take the time to cast our votes and to cast them intelligently.
Back to fishing! Well, not quite.
As I was making my final preparations for this year's hunting season, it dawned on me just how particular I am about hunting. It's not really all that different from how I approach a fishing tournament. In fact, the two are very similar. I think success either in the woods or on the water really comes down to being prepared and covering every detail possible before climbing into the tree stand or launching the boat.
For hunting, I wash all my clothes in de-scenting detergent. Bobbi laughs because I do it with gloves on and keep them in de-scented bags, but that's the level of commitment it takes to be at my best. I've been tuning arrows and my bow and making sure everything is as exact as possible. It's similar to how I prepare my tackle for a big tournament. It may be overkill to check every hook point for sharpness, cleaning my Wright and McGill rod guides or re-spooling my reels with new line on a rod I made 50 casts or less with. Nevertheless, I want to know I have every detail covered, and there's nothing worse than missing that big buck or big bass because my equipment isn't just right.
Then there are the electronics. For hunting, it's GPS units and cameras. For fishing, it's my Lowrance HDS imaging and GPS. Either way, I need to understand everything there is to know about the electronics, so I read the manuals, adjust the settings and dial them in to exactly what I need to help me in my quest for either a trophy buck or a tournament trophy.
I spend 11 months out of a year, when I'm not fishing or with the family, preparing for a hunting season that is less than a month long. Believe it or not, it's half the fun, and when that big buck is right there in front of me and I get that excited feeling, I'll know I'm prepared, and that's enough to take the nervous part of me and convert it to excitement.
In hunting, I won't be earning a big check or a big trophy, and I probably won't get any real media coverage from it, but it's just as important to me to be successful and to be my best. My trophy will be a big buck (over 170 inches, hopefully) and some great-tasting meat for the freezer.
It may be a different sport than fishing, but it's the same in any sport. Correctly preparing and minding the finer details of the job is what sets the average participant apart from the best. A perfect example is Aaron Martens. We sometimes laugh as we hear about the minuscule details that he sometimes spends hours or even days on. However, that's why he's one of the best. No matter if you are fishing for fun with some buddies, fishing club events or fishing at the highest level of competitive tournaments, minding the details will help you rise to the top of your game.