It’s all about preparation

I’m going to call the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series season the year of preparation. That’s something I didn’t do enough of last year, and the result speaks for itself. This year will be different.

And that preparation will start right now. 

I’m going to begin seriously studying the schedule and planning out what I’ll do and when I’ll do it. It’s about getting my mind wrapped around what will happen, getting into the game. Instead of showing up at a lake on Sunday and starting to practice on Monday I’ll have everything put together weeks or months in advance. 

When I say studying the schedule and planning out what I’ll do I mean that I’ll be devoting serious time to those things. Studying the schedule means that I’ll be looking at travel dates for both the tournament and for pre-fishing before each one goes off limits, and I’ll be planning my routes as well. 

The pre-fishing thing is more complicated than you might think. A big part of it will be driving all over a place and marking whatever I think might hold a fish when we’re going to be there. But, I’ll also be marking travel times from one spot to another as well as making sure I know where all the marinas are and where I can buy gas if I need it. That’s all part of getting ready. 

There are off-the-water things, too. It’s important to know where you can get breakfast an hour before first light, and where I can get supper two or three hours after last light. And, don’t forget that I might need a pharmacy, a grocery store, a hardware store or maybe even an emergency medical clinic — one of those 24 hour places. I’ll drive around and make sure I know where those places are located. 

The less I have to think about all those things the week of the tournament the more efficient my fishing will be and the better chance I’ll have of doing well. I won’t have to think about anything except bass fishing.  

Let’s get back to the schedule for a minute, though. We all have lives beyond fishing. In my case I have kids that need my time and attention. They have things at school that I need to know about and attend if I can. I need to work all of that into my calendar as best I can so that last minute things don’t crop up in front of me, especially last minute things that shouldn’t be last minute things.

Let’s be honest: As professional anglers we’re gone a lot. It goes with the territory. It’s important to keep a balance in our life, and the best way I know to do that is to be as prepared as possible.  

My whole thought process about next year is really about mental focus. You can’t compete without it and in my case I can’t be focused unless I’m prepared. 

Without going into the detail I will tell you that last year I had some personal things in my life that took up my time, my money and, most importantly, my emotional energy. Those things have been resolved as best they can so I’m going to be able to start fresh this year. 

I said last time, and I’ll say it this time: Last year will not ruin me. It will motivate me.