You might be a bassoholic, basshead or bass addict if you’re anything like me. I’m not sure what the correct term is, but I’m certain I’m one of them. I’m certain there’s quite a few others scouring the pages of Bassmaster.com looking for a fix. After all, it’s that time year.
Things are slow in the fishing world right now. There are no major tournaments to generate the successes and failures we usually use for column fodder. The next wave of new product introductions is a month or two out, awaiting the GEICO Bassmaster Classic Expo. On top of that, the northern half of the U.S. has put away its boats for the winter.
Nevertheless, every day Bassmaster.com is updated with a fresh new set of columns and articles from other bass addicts. Have you ever noticed that 90 percent of these columns fall into one of two categories: (1) I went hunting! (Insert photo of deer or ducks.) or (2) Check out these great items from my sponsors. (Insert photo of product.)
(By the way, you really owe it to yourself to check out the Humminbird Helix units ¾they’ve got one to suit your fishing style, and the prices are right. Now back to the column.)
I’m not poking fun at anyone here. As columnists we should write about what we’re doing and what’s on our minds. Spend any time around a group of pro bass anglers and you’ll quickly realize that hunting and sponsors are top of mind ¾just below catching bass and our next meal.
An interesting theme runs through the hunting columns: that hunting will make you a better fisherman. I don’t know if that’s true or not, so I won’t argue. I climbed out of my last tree stand on a cold December morning in the north Georgia mountains about 18 years ago. I hooked up my boat and absolutely crushed the spotted bass on Carters Lake for the rest of the day. I haven’t been to the deer woods since.
But the hunting columns still interest me. I can appreciate another bass addict’s effort to take the other activities in his life and use them to improve his fishing. It’s a noble goal. In fact, for a true bass addict, anything that doesn’t make us better anglers (or create more opportunities to go fishing) is a waste of time.
Like many weekend warriors, Opens pros and even a few Elite anglers, I’ve been catching up on my “real” job since the season ended. While I’ve got a great group of sponsors that make the financial side of fishing easier, there are still those annoying bills for nonessentials (mortgage payments, utility bills, etc.) that my wife insists be paid. After weeks and weeks on the road for tournaments and sponsor obligations, stockpiling a little goodwill with the boss and co-workers (not to mention my wife) should ensure a little less grumpiness when tournament season rolls around.
I’ve also taken a renewed interest in my physical well being. You see, the tournament lifestyle is not all salads and squats, and while a buffet is a grouping of food it is not actually a food group. All of this has conspired to add more inches to my waist than even the biggest Golden Rule can measure. It was time to do something about it.
A little walking led to a little running. Then, Lily, my 10-year-old daughter, got a mountain bike for her birthday, and I managed to find my old bike under a couple of tons of soft plastic lures. Getting back into riding - and especially riding with my daughter - has been great fun (and painful … sometimes very painful). The good news is that I’ve lost about 10 pounds. That’s going to improve my energy level and focus on the water … plus my boat will be faster.
I’ve also spent several days cleaning and organizing my garage. Things in there had gotten bad - really bad. I was spending way too much time looking for stuff instead of actually preparing to fish. Now the clutter is mostly gone. That’s going to help.
I like to think that I’ve gotten a head start on my New Year’s resolutions. Of course my big resolution for 2016 is the same as it’s been for years. I plan to fish more and be a better fisherman. If you’re an addict too, I bet that’s pretty close to your resolution.
Happy New Year!