There’s nowhere like home…

There’s no denying it, bass fishing at an elevated level is a traveling man’s game. If you ever qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series, it would be a good idea to get a tire sponsorship, because we burn up the roads. High school fishing isn’t all that different. You travel all over the state, and then if you make a national championship, chances are you are going out of state to compete. We love it though, all competitive fisherman have that itch. The itch to see what’s in store for us at the next stop or next state.

Often because your bigger tournament trails are out of state or on many different bodies of water anglers feel they need to travel and see lots of various places to get better as an angler. Now I will be the first to admit that is very true. I grew up in Kentucky where grass doesn’t play much, so to become a better grass fisherman I had to travel a little. The point I want to make though is don’t overlook the water you have available nearby – your home lake or river. High school anglers don’t always have the ability to travel and fish, but that’s fine. You can do plenty of learning on any body of water. Only one stipulation, that body of water needs bass in it, if it does you are good to go. Before you tell me you know everything about your home water already, let me explain.

A bass is a bass no matter where he is swimming. Sure, some have different tendencies, but they are all predators that must eat to survive. No matter how well you think you know your home water, you probably don’t know it as well as you think. The first and most obvious thing you can do is stop fishing the same old ways on your home water, try different things. That might be a different area or a different technique all together. Getting out of your comfort zone can really expand your horizons as an angler. Even if what you try doesn’t work, I promise you have still gained valuable knowledge.

Another easy thing to try on your home water is going out for a day of fishing with different people. I grew up fishing with my father. Sure, he taught me a lot and probably still has more to teach me, but my point is get in the boat with someone other than your usual high school team partner or parent. It really seemed to help me early on. Everyone approaches things differently and seeing things from their perspective might just open your eyes to a world you didn’t know existed. Take what they do best and learn it. Do that with three or four guys and put that with what you already know and just watch your ability as a fisherman skyrocket.

Lastly, fish as many tournaments as you can. I don’t care if they are four-hour night tournaments or eight-hour Saturday derbies. Tournament fishing is a process every time, physically and mentally. The more you put yourself through that process the more natural it will become. I grew up fishing Herrington Lake. There is nowhere in the world that fishes like it does. The techniques I learned there have rarely come in handy on the Elite Series, but it made me a better angler because it kept me in the process of tournament fishing. Learning to manage time, cull fish, fish around other anglers, and my list could just go on.

Don’t overlook your home water, no matter how tough or easy the fish are to catch there. It’s got something to teach you and at a relatively low cost compared to traveling around the country. Like I said, there’s just nowhere like home.

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