Downtime in the springtime

Like the rest of the Bassmaster Elite Series pros and much of the world’s population, I’m stranded at home trying to fill time when I’d rather be doing other more productive things. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going a little bit crazy, but I recognize that this is a serious issue and we have to take the safest and wisest route forward. 

I really got things clicking at the Classic, and this interruption is more or less another forced winter for me. Our bass season here in Minnesota opens in mid-May. In neighboring Wisconsin they can’t have tournaments now, but that state is wide open for catch-and-release fishing. I wish I could stay sharp, but I’m trying to remain around the house as much as possible, and that means that whenever we get back to the Elite Series I may start off a little rusty. 

You’d think I might spend some of this time organizing my tackle, but that’s not my style. I’m the world’s worst procrastinator. Usually I’m still getting my stuff in order the night before I leave, and I doubt this time around will be any different. 

It remains to be seen how our schedule will be remade once it’s safe and practical to travel again. My biggest concern is that Dayton is pregnant now with a due date of Aug. 10. We didn’t really plan it that way, but through some minor miracle that falls during what we expected to be a two-week break in the schedule. Now I have a sinking feeling that there will be a tournament that week, which would put me in a bad spot. Of course the “right” thing to do in that scenario would be to skip the derby, but that probably would take me out of the Classic. This is my job, the way that I feed my family, so the decision is not as clear as it might seem at first. 

I’ve also applied for a Montana mule deer tag, and after years of trying I can almost guarantee that I’ll get one this year. I can also say with near certainty that if I get drawn we’ll have a tournament on top of my window to go. I realize that it’s minor in comparison to the struggles some people are enduring, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless. 

There’s a local circuit that I love to fish every summer, and it has five scheduled tournaments. I’m still holding out hope that I might get to compete in two or three of them.

So what have I done during this supposed downtime?

Well, Dayton gave me a pretty heavy honey-do list. There’s been plenty of yardwork, and I’ve built a crib and a dresser for the new baby’s room.

I also binge watched Tiger King and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The one other upside is that it’s a semi-healthy break from some of the food that me and Gussy, the Johnstons and Chris Groh tend to eat on the road. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and even Dayton will tell you that if it’s good in this house, I probably cooked it. She doesn’t cook with love the way I do.

I’ve just about perfected spaghetti, and I cranked out some great steaks, too. I was already really good at cooking them on the grill, but lately I’ve been cooking than in a cast iron pan. That’s the way to do it.

Right now, with life on hold, I have to take whatever little victories I can find in everyday living.