Downtime is important

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James Overstreet

We talk a lot in this business about fishing the different seasons and about how to catch bass 12 months a year. I suppose that’s OK if you’re a recreational angler getting away from the everyday pressures of your job. But if you’re a professional, things look a little different.

Professional bass fishing is a sport. Every sport I’m familiar with has a season and an offseason. There are good reasons for that.

One thing is that it gives you time to clear your mind and think about things. During an offseason you can review what happened last year with the clarity that comes from time. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? How are you going to take advantage of what went right and how are you going to correct what went wrong?

And, in our case it gives us an opportunity to think about what events we want to fish in the future. You have the time to think about the time and expense of fishing more than one circuit. That’s no small thing. Fishing more increases your chances of making more money, but it also means more expense and time away from home.

The time off also allows your body to heal. We all know that anglers have trouble with their shoulders, elbows and wrists. Some of us would include lower backs and necks in that list. I don’t think that a week off between events is enough to let those things heal and get back to normal. A couple of months is more realistic.

The same thing can be said of sleep. A good night or two is great, but a few weeks of rest and relaxation is better.

I try to follow what I just said. From about Thanksgiving through the end of January I don’t fish. I bird hunt, duck hunt, deer hunt, go on vacation and spend time with my family. That gets me away from fishing for a long enough period of time to refresh and recharge everything.

My system isn’t perfect, though. I do take a week in December to go over all my tackle, order what I think I’ll need for the next year and get ready for my new boat. I also do some speaking at Mike Iaconelli’s, The Bass University. And, of course, I do this column.

But that’s not fishing. It’s messing around. I can honestly tell you that since sometime in November I haven’t thought about catching a bass, or about any of last year’s tournaments or next year’s tournaments.

If you’re a recreational angler, have at it. Fish all you want. You’re not going to burn out and most of what I just said has nothing to do with you. Go have a good time.

If you’re a serious tournament angler or looking towards a professional career, you might want to think about taking some time off. Fishing at a high level creates pressure and stress. Give your mind and body time to heal. It hasn’t hurt my career, and I doubt it’ll hurt yours.