At 47, Long admits he needs more sleep than he did a decade ago, and he urges anglers to pay attention to what their bodies are telling them about their own personal needs. We're all different.
"As I get older, I need more rest before I go fishing, I need to eat better on the water and a few days before I fish, and it's more important to stay properly hydrated," he says. "I wish things got easier as we get older, but that's not always the case. Instead, I have to learn from my experiences, stay in tune with my body and adapt to find what works for me right now."
But what if sleep seems nearly impossible? What if you spotted a 15-pound largemouth or 8-pound smallmouth late the previous day and you're just too excited to close your eyes?
"That situation happens to me sometimes," laughs Long. "If I know I'm going to see a giant, I can get too jacked up to sleep. That's when I try to work backward and find a way to relax instead of using that time to gear up for the trip. For me, watching a movie, listening to music or catching up with some baseball or football helps to take my mind off things and relax enough that I can sleep."
"I saw the trout fisherman again at the end of the day in the lake restaurant. He was toast!"
If you're out of shape, it's going to take a while to get into decent fishing condition. That's why Long recommends maintenance and not letting yourself get so far out of shape that you need to start from scratch.
"I do a lot of walking, a lot of stretching," he says. "I want to be agile and limber. I care less about strength than mobility. When I work out with weights — which is no more than a couple of times a week — I use light weights and do a lot of repetitions. I need stamina and balance out on the water, so I do a lot of sit-ups, some pushups and walking with some lunges mixed in."
Long mixes his workout into his day as much as possible, waking up and starting with a couple of sets of pushups (three sets of 20 repetitions each) and sit-ups (three sets of 60 reps) and some walking. If that's not possible, but he's relaxing at home in the evening, he'll watch TV and exercise during the commercials. The goal is to keep his core strong and flexible so he can fish long days with little fatigue.
"Up at the restaurant by the ramp, the trout fisherman was having trouble putting sentences together. He was confused, badly burned, had a headache and couldn't get his boat on the trailer. I'm guessing he didn't enjoy his fishing, either."
Just as in the world of high fashion, the right clothes depend on the circumstances. A fashionista wouldn’t wear white after Labor Day, and Mike Long will never dress too lightly for a cold day on the water. The biggest difference is that with fishing fashion, comfort truly is everything.