Time is a limiting factor

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Another good cull for Ott DeFoe.
Bassmaster Marshal Joe Williams
Another good cull for Ott DeFoe.

This has been a rollercoaster year for me. I finished sixth in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’s Sporting Goods. Obviously, I wanted to win it, but I wasn’t too disappointed with the result. But then things turned…

So far I’ve missed two last day cuts by 1 ounce in each event. That hurts. After that I’ve had a 59th place finish and a 77th place finish. Why I’ve been up and down is hard to explain. The basic thing is that in some cases I haven’t pushed my strength hard enough, and in others I pushed my strength too much.

It’s no secret that I’m a shallow water guy. That’s where I’m at my best with my techniques and where my confidence is highest. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to keep going with something and when to stop doing it and start fishing something totally different.

The real thing is, though, that time is a limiting factor in this business. I simply don’t have the hours and days it takes to learn new techniques and get good at things I don’t do very often. The result from that is that I end up being good at some things but not so good at others. Sometimes that keeps me shallow too long. At other times it means I fish techniques that maybe I don’t totally understand.  

That is not an excuse. It’s a fact, and I think it affects a lot of the other guys, too.

If you have a family, they deserve your time when you’re not out on the road. You marry a woman and have kids because you love her and want a family. It’s important that you show that not just by providing a big house and a nice car for them but by also giving them your time. It’s impossible to spend day after day on the water when you come home unless you don’t do that.

Remember that we don’t come home for supper in the evenings. We fish, and we’re gone when we do it. We don’t have a normal job, and we don’t keep normal hours.     

The truth is that almost all of the time I spend practicing and learning new techniques is during practice before a tournament or during the tournament itself. Again, I’m not making excuses. I’m simply telling the truth. 

The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is an example of what I’m talking about. I pitched a spoon around and under docks because I thought that would be the way to catch them. I was right, but I didn’t exactly set things on fire. 

One of the reasons was because I’d never pitched a spoon before. Every pitch was a learning experience — size, weight, line, rod and reel combinations as well as lure action. I was practicing and learning while I was competing in one of the bigger Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments of the year. That can make you competitive, but it won’t make you a winner.

This is the reality of professional bass fishing. I love what I do. It was a childhood dream for me that has come true, and I wouldn’t do anything else even if I had the opportunity. I am truly living the dream, but it isn’t cost free.