I have to admit that this is an awkward time of year for me.
Spending more time around home with the family takes some getting used to – not just for me, but for Melissa and the rest of the family as well.
Most of my life is selfishly spent on the tournament trail, then we have this offseason, and I have to change my mindset.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a great family life. But when my mind is wrapped around fishing most of the year and I have to adjust life at home, it’s not easy for me.
And the family knows it.
So, what has helped over the years is we plan some kind of adventure unrelated to fishing. We also do some adventures during the tournament season, but the tournament gets most of my energy. The family is along for the ride and has to adapt to me.
During downtime, we’ve done family snowmobiling through the Yellowstone National Park, snow skiing in the mountains, visited my daughter and her husband in the Netherlands last year and other outdoor activities not related to fishing.
This year has been different. We chose to stay home because we had so many other things going on and my youngest son wants some downtime during his college break.
We also try to avoid the materialistic aspect of Christmas. We celebrate it but do so with a more personal experience.
We like to do a lot of hiking and outdoor camping here in the hills of Missouri. We have a teepee set up with a campfire and do some dinners out there.
My daughter and grandchildren are visiting us so we’ll be getting them up early to do a lot of hiking and cave exploring around home. I’m going to live-trap some opossums and raccoons so the grand kids can see them up close, then set them free. It’s something that they ordinarily wouldn’t get to experience.
Of course, I also spend time dealing with the business side, working with sponsors, building contracts and getting equipment ready. It’s a very necessary part of the job but not something I enjoy.
Many anglers spend their offseason building social media, but that that’s not who I am. Frankly, I consider some of that as “fake fame,” and it really turns me off. Obviously, there are anglers who are much better showmen and self-promoters, but I’m not comfortable trying to be something I’m not.
I’ve never tried to sell myself and have held the belief that my performance over time will tell a sponsor who I am and my value to the company.
I’ve always believed that an angler’s performance at a high level will give sponsors the credible exposure they need – not how many friends he has on Facebook, how many Tweets or messages he posts each week or how many times he touts a sponsor on the weigh-in stand.
I realize I’m not a great businessman and I have to get better at self-promotion. I’m working on that.
But with everything I do, it’s gotta be credible. I think most fans see through the fake stuff so it’s important for me to be honest, be it about a technique, product or my approach to the sport.
So, if you don’t see much of me in social media, it’s because I prefer to spend my offseason being a better husband, father and grandfather while thinking about ways I can improve my performance on the water in 2022.