How I get ready for the season

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Garrick Dixon

“Guys, it ain’t happenin’ here, we're movin’ on.”

It’s been a long winter, a good one but still long. Between family vacations, not having a boat and hunting I haven’t fished much in months. Here’s how I’m going to get back into the groove. Maybe there’ll be something in what I do that you can use, something that’ll help make you a better bass tournament angler.

I start the process well before the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. If I wait too long, it’ll be too late — for the Classic and the first couple of tournaments.

The very first thing I do to get going is ask around about the local tournaments. I want to know how much weight these guys are bringing in. That’s not because I’m nosy. It’s because I want to know how much I need to catch to stay competitive with the best around here.

That’s an important part of my preparation. It’s about setting goals. There are some really good anglers in my neighborhood. They catch them. If I can match or beat their weights, I’m doing pretty good. If not, I’m in trouble.

The other thing I do is fish during the week and on the toughest days there are. There are two reasons for that. The first is that I don’t want to fight the crowds on the weekends, and I don’t want guys following me and asking questions.

I’m not antisocial, and I’m not hiding anything. I also appreciate all the fan support I have. At the same time, though, I need to concentrate on doing my thing. I’m not out there messing around. I’m getting back into the swing of things and trying to beat the best, even though my weights won’t count because I’m not fishing the tournaments.

The second reason I fish during the week and on the toughest days is that I’m not interested in an easy bite. I can catch them when things are great. That’s no problem. I want to challenge myself and try to catch them when things aren’t so great.

I can assure you, it’s not about “easy” at the Bassmaster Elite Series level. It’s hard for the average angler to truly understand how good and how competitive these guys are. I’m telling you, I know some really good bass anglers who have tried to qualify for the Elites and haven’t made it. This is a tough business. If you’re going to be successful at it, you’d better be as good and as tough as everybody else.

My way of doing things is not for everyone. I get that. Some of you can’t get to the water during the week and some of you don’t want to fish on the tough days. That’s fine. If catching a few bass is what you want out of bass fishing, go for it. You’ll never hear a bad word from me about that.

One of the wonderful things about fishing is that you can do it on so many levels. You don’t have to be an aspiring pro to enjoy a day on the water. You don’t have to catch the biggest fish in the lake, either. It’s fun regardless of whether you’re young or old, physically fit or disabled, serious or not.