Why physical fitness matters

You hear about physical fitness from time to time, but there hasn’t been anything published recently so I thought it would be important to say something now. Now means after the spread of COVID-19 is starting to subside. Some of us worked harder on our fitness during 2020, but others worked less.

The thing about fishing is that it’s a long process physically and mentally. You don’t necessarily break a sweat quickly, but hour after hour of casting and cranking as well as dealing with the cold and the heat will take it out of you. Wind is tough too. Standing on the deck of your boat or leaning against a pedestal seat all day in a 20 mph wind is harder than a lot of anglers think.

Dealing with those things efficiently makes a big difference in how many fish you catch, and it’s also a matter of safety. You don’t want to fall overboard when you’re already exhausted. Actually, you probably don’t want to fall overboard under any circumstances now that I think about it.   

We’ll talk a little bit about exercise first. I’m a big fan of cardio work. It helps you fish all day, and it’s good for your balance. Running, biking or swimming are all pretty good for this. Pick one you like and go with it. You probably won’t do anything very long if you don’t like to do it.

Another thing I want to mention is, when I’m not doing cardio, I work out in the gym five or six days a week for full body strengthening. That helps overall, and for me, it helps with casting and winding all day. It also helps me make quicker and more secure hooksets.  

Eating is another part of the plan. I always eat a huge breakfast to get me started. I’m an eggs, bacon and toast fan, and I mean all I can put on my plate. During the day I only eat high-protein food. Things like beef jerky and protein bars are my choices. 

I avoid eating vast amounts of sugar on the weeks we’re fishing. It’ll give you a quick high, but when it wears off, you’ll be looking for a place to take a nap. I say this as a huge fan of honey buns. I love them. In fact, I was once a spokesman for them. However, they are not for in-the-boat eating, nor is anything else like them.

Water is my liquid of choice. I might drink one Gatorade Zero during the day but that’s all. Water will help an angler avoid dehydration and its effects on the body. You’ve heard this before, but I’ll say it again: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Make it a regular part of your day. Dehydration will take all the energy out of you. If it gets real bad it can be serious — mentally as well as physically. 

The last thing I want to talk about is sleep. Sleep is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Your body requires it, and we all require a different amount. Know what you need and get it. There are few things in your life that are more important. 

What I’ve outlined isn’t just for Bassmaster Elite Series anglers. It’s for anyone who wants to fish all day long efficiently and safely. Give some of these suggestions a try as the year rolls along. They’ll do as much, or more, to improve your catch as buying all the new tackle that’s on the market for 2021.

One other thing: I didn’t always follow my own advice. I want to publicly credit John Crews for getting me started in the right direction.