As we head into the New Year, it’s time to think about resolutions. I had a pretty good tournament season last year but there’s room for improvement. You can never rest on your laurels in this profession.
So, here is how I plan to improve on that in 2012:
- Learn the intricacies of the Alabama Rig. Obviously, this new rig is deadly in the right situations and I want to learn more about it. I’m curious to see how clear-water smallmouth react to it and I want to experiment with different baits on it to see how all fish respond.
- Expand my use of swimbaits. We’ve discovered that these lures aren’t just for spring fishing but there so much more to be learned. Our tournaments take us to places where catching big fish is critical and this bait can produce a big bite through summer and fall. I plan to add it to my regular arsenal and become more versatile with it.
- Redeem myself from the poor post-season performance. I’m still steaming over getting knocked out of the first round of the All-Stars last fall. It showed I have to get better in events (like the Classic) where you have to start out strong if you want to finish at the top.
- Improve my Red River performance. I finished 30th in the 2009 Classic held in Shreveport and that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I dug myself in a hole too deep the first day of the event and I’m anxious to improve on that this year. I really like the Red River and it sets up well for me, so there’s no excuse. It’s a shallow water/power fishing type of fishery and I definitely plan to learn from the mistakes I made there last time.
- Expand my knowledge of how sound affects bass. This would include two areas: Rattling and non-rattling baits and those underwater sounds produced with the HydroWave I have on my boat to stimulate bass to feed more aggressively. I learned a lot about when to use rattling baits and when silent baits are better, but there’s a lot more to be learned. I’ve also refined my use with the HydroWave to produce feeding frenzies, but there’s still so much to learn. Now that other pros have them on their boats, I have to experiment more to get the most from the unit and stay ahead of the learning curve.
- Cut back on travel and maximize time at home with family and friends. I was gone more than 250 days last year and I missed out on a lot. I want to make sure that the time I do spend at home this year is quality time with my kids.
- Slow down and be more thorough. Guys like Jeff Kriet and Mike McClelland can really pick an area apart and that’s something I need to improve upon, especially in the two Florida tournaments we have this year. I have a tendency to try to overpower the bass and make them react when there are times I need to slow down and antagonize the bass. Kriet and McClelland can make one cast last three minutes. I will make 13 casts over that same time frame, but there are situations I have to simply slow down and grind it out.
- Do more to promote fishing. I want to spend more time encouraging people of all ages to go fishing and take others with them. Once they experience what we already know, they’re going to realize just how special fishing is to one’s quality of life.
- Spend more time bow hunting with my teenage boys. They’ve developed a passion for hunting and I want to spend time in the woods teaching them the ways of nature. Bow hunting requires more strategy, skill and patience that will help them in other aspects of life.
- Be nice to Elite pro Jeff Kriet. He’s a good friend, but it’s so easy to get inside his head and I have so much fun picking on him that sometimes I feel guilty. But then, “Squirrel” earned his nickname, and he’s such an easy target. I have a hunch that this resolution may be the toughest to fulfill.