What I do during the 'offseason'

My 2018 tournament season is in the books. I’ve fished my last tournament for the year, and pretty soon I’ll sell my current Phoenix 920 that I’ve run all year and pick up my new one. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what do pro fishermen do during the “offseason” so I thought we’d talk about that a little this week.

The first and foremost thing I look forward to about the end of every tournament season is the fact that I’ll get to spend a couple months at home with my family. I have an amazing wife, Kimberly; a 7-year-old stepdaughter; and a 7-month-old daughter at home who don’t get to spend as much time with me as I’d like due to me being gone to tournaments throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and love to see and fish new places, but my wife still works so they don’t get to come with me very often.

The offseason gives me a chance to give them back some of the time we miss together when I’m on the road. I’ve heard people say they just want to spend time at home for vacation, and sometimes I can certainly relate to that. My wife and girls do great with it, but it is a big sacrifice that all our families make and I’m thankful that I get to spend this time of year with them.

Another thing I look forward to every year is deer season. Obviously I like fishing, but I love the outdoors all together and hunting has always been a pretty strong passion of mine as well. I’m not near as good at it as I am fishing, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Sitting in a tree stand every fall gives me time to think about how the year went, what I’d change if I could, what I learned and what I’ll do different next time in certain situations.

A lot of my friends are hunters as well so of course we trade trail cam pictures and deer sightings throughout the season which is fun. As I’m writing this it’s the day before opening day of muzzleloader season in Tennessee so my anticipation is pretty high. I messed up an opportunity on the biggest deer I’ve ever shot at during archery season so I’ve got a little bit of a score to settle, but we’ll see what happens. 

Although I do get to play a little during the offseason I do still have some things I have to take care of fishing wise. I still love to fun fish as much as I ever did, and I spend a good many days on the water in the fall and winter fishing with friends. Crappie fishing is something else I love to do this time of year.

My new Phoenix boat will be ready the second week of December so as soon as it is ready I’ll spend a lot of time getting it set up just the way I like it. I’m not a super-organized person normally, but when it comes to my boat I have a system that works for me and it has for several years now so I make sure it’s the same year to year. Then by the time I get my boat all situated and make sure everything is in order it will be time for the first tournament of 2019 before you know it. They say time flies when you’re having fun and I reckon that must be true because it seems like every year gets faster and faster, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

And one more thing, there’s this little derby I qualified for next March called the Bassmaster Classic, and it just so happens it’s in my home state of Tennessee. I’ll spend some time over there scouting around this offseason as well.

Hope to see y’all on the water!