It’s a tough business


Bassmaster Marshal

This year has been a welcome change from last year. The first thing, and the most important, is that my health has held up and the supplements I’m taking are working as well as they did earlier in the year. Actually, I feel better than I have in a long while.

I’m thankful for everything the Lord has given me health-wise. It’s a blessing. I can tell you that if you don’t have your health not much else matters.

As happy as I am about that, however, I’m a little frustrated after the northern swing. I didn’t make a cut or cash a check in any of our three events. The thing is, though, it’s not because I didn’t catch them. I was close weight-wise in every tournament — just a pound or a little less on the short side every Friday.

Basically, I averaged 15 pounds a day for the six days I fished. In years past that might have been good enough to make the first cut but not anymore. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I have to say it again. The guys fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series right now are better than anything I’d have imagined when I first got into this business. They find them and they catch them.

What’s happened is that there’s no slack anymore. The guys who couldn’t catch them are gone and they’ve been replaced by guys who can. In years past you were competing against a certain number of guys. Now you’re competing against darn near all of them. That makes this a tough business.

Overall, though, it’s been a respectable year. I’m in 19th place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. That’s an obvious improvement over last year.

I’m thankful for the short break, though. I just flew home this afternoon. I’m going to stretch out and take a nap just as soon as I get this thing done.

The way it usually works with us is that we travel as a family with the fifth wheel, but this time I had to batch it. That means living in motels. We didn’t have a choice. The boys are playing football so they don’t want to be away from school and kids need their mother, even if they might think they can handle things on their own.

The bachelor thing isn’t too bad. I can handle laundry and food. It’s the lack of sleep that gets to me. When you stay in motels you sometimes get a good bed but at other times you get a bad bed. I can’t get the rest I need unless I’m in a good bed. And even then it can be a problem. It seems like every motel has cars around revving their motors or noise of some sort from other guests. This last month I just didn’t get the rest I needed to be at the top of my game.

Anyway, after my nap and a few more days with naps I’ll fly up to Mille Lacs for the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship. If you like smallmouth fishing, that’s the place to be in the fall.

We’ll talk about how to catch them next time. If you have something you’d like me to address, post it in the Comments section.