Resolve to fish uncomfortable

As we kick off 2014, I'd like to first wish everyone a Happy New Year. I always enjoy this time of year while I finish putting the hunting gear away and begin prepping for the upcoming fishing season. This year I'm fishing both the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens and the Bassmaster Elite Series. It's hard to believe that in less than a month I will be headed to Lake Amistad, Texas, for the first Open event. From there it's off to the Geico Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville.

As we turn the page on 2013, I was thinking of all the things that have helped me become the angler I am today. I wanted to share one tip I got from my dad well before I began fishing for a living. A tip that seemed small back then has been a large factor in shaping the fisherman I am today.

Back when I was fishing the same three or four lakes consistently, both in tournaments and for fun, my dad gave me this tip. He told me to fish a new area every time I go fishing. This sounds simple, but leaving something you know for something that might not pan out is an uncomfortable feeling in life and fishing.

I had been fishing these lakes for years, and I had plenty of areas that I knew and felt comfortable fishing. On each trip, instead of just going to these same old areas, I ventured out and fished at least one new spot even if I didn't think it would produce.

On small lakes, where I had fished almost all of the lake previously, I tried a new technique or a new approach in an area. For example, where I usually threw a jig, I would throw something like a crankbait or swimbait.

It didn’t always work out, but looking back on it I'm amazed at how narrow-minded I was and how often this simple tip paid off for me. As fisherman, it is hard to put down our favorite bait or leave a favorite area. If it hadn’t been for this tip I would have limited my growth as an angler.

This tip has helped me beyond those days and lakes I was fishing back then. What I was doing was learning how to fish uncomfortable conditions and uncomfortable water. Essentially, I became comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Take my dad’s tip and put it in play for yourself in 2014. Make it a goal to try a new area or a new approach on every trip. It may feel like a waste of time, but I think you’ll be surprised at how often it works out.

Either way, it will make you a better fisherman.

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