This is the time of the year where we as anglers begin to evaluate how the previous season went and what adjustments we need to make to improve our performance. After doing that evaluation, we decide what adjustments to our gear or our approach need to happen.
Now is when changes keep it new for the next competition season.
I’ve got some changes coming for 2024 that I believe will help me improve again and put me competitively where I want to be. I have only one partnership change, and that is the addition of FishLung. It is a revolutionary oxygen technology I will go into at a later date, but it’s awesome. I’m fortunate to have maintained amazing relationships with a great lineup of companies for the majority of my career, but adding new partners with products I believe in is amazing.
The ability to work with my partners to identify and make the changes I want each season is something I’m very grateful for.
I’ve talked to Rick Pierce at Bass Cat and for 2024, and I’m going to be running the new Caracal STS model they just announced paired with the Mercury ProXS 250. For the past couple of seasons, I’ve selected the Puma STS for the width and size, but this new Caracal STS combines the attributes of my two favorite Bass Cat models — the Puma STS and The Eyra.
This new model combines the speed and layout of those two models. Being one of the team guys who works to stay in the most current models to educate the consumers about the newest boats Bass Cat has to offer, I feel like that is an important part of my job.
Along with the boat model change, I have decided to centralize my electronics to just Humminbird and Garmin. I’ve come to realize that I get everything I need from those two brands, so I will only be running those two next year.
One thing I am going to do is incorporate an NBT Screen on the bow. I’m going to try and use the 22-inch version to help me see more detail. I’ll have a bit to work out on that setup, but stay tuned to my YouTube channel to see how it ends up. I’ll be sure to post my setup when it’s done.
I’m looking forward to next year’s schedule. It’s an interesting mix of old favorites and enough new locations to keep things interesting. There will also be some new faces on the Elite Series next year, and the anglers coming from the Bassmaster Opens are going to bring it. I’m very familiar with Kyle Patrick, he’s a Missile Baits Bomb Squad member, and I’m looking forward to seeing him out there.
I know that forward-facing sonar (FFS) is a big topic right now, and the schedule is going to offer opportunities to use it. But some events shouldn’t feature it.
There has been a lot of discussion about FFS this season. What I think people need to realize is it is another tool and not everyone has grasped the use of it. There seems to be a thought that you can just ride around and see fish, turn the “Scope” on ‘em and catch ‘em. That’s not the case. You still have to have an understanding of how the fish set up during different conditions, and in order for it to work as designed, you have to find the fish first.
When I first started using it, I realized how valuable it was in locating cover and structure. It gave me a clearer picture of how rocks or logs were laid out on the bottom, and I used it locate stuff to throw at. I still use it that way today. I’m using it to locate and cast at fish as well as I get more comfortable with it.
I’m working on a couple of projects for Cashion Rods, Missile Baits and SPRO right now that I can’t really go into. The stuff with SPRO is still a ways out, but we’ll have something big coming from Missile Baits soon. I’m excited about what we’re doing with Cashion too.