This is the time of year when you hear about us getting things together — boats, tackle, sponsors — for next year. That’s an important part of the business, for sure. For me, though, it’s first things first. That means taking some time off.
When I get home from the last tournament I pull my boat into the garage and don’t look back at it for at least a month ... maybe more. I want to decompress and get fishing off my mind. Fishing is important to me. I couldn’t imagine earning a living any other way. But other things are important to me too.
We’ll start with my wife, Lindsey. She’s in real estate. That keeps her busy out of the house, and I’ve been on the road most of the year. We haven’t had much time together. So, I go with her when she works. I’m not sure how much help I am, but it’s time we can spend together, one on one. That is important for our relationship.
The next thing are our kids, Kei and Linnie. Time with them is important to me, and it’s even more important to them. When they look at me they see a dad more than they see a Bassmaster Elite angler, and that’s how I want it.
I want to show them love and attention, but I also want to be a part of the development of their moral and ethical values. I want to have a good time with them and introduce them to a variety of things in life. You never know what they’ll end up being interested in doing as they get older. I also want them to go to church with me and participate with us — mom and dad — in community activities. All that takes time, time I won’t have if I’m off chasing bass.
After a while, though, I have to spend at least some time on my career. I love to fish in the fall and winter so I do some of that, and I love to hunt so naturally I spend a fair amount of time in the woods. Of course, on top of those things is the business side of professional fishing. All four of us have developed the habit of eating. Basically you don’t want to get too far out of rhythm with things.
I don’t think, though, that the time I take away from fishing hurts my performance in any way. In fact, it makes it stronger because when I do fish I know that my other responsibilities as a husband and a father are taken care of and in good shape. If it wasn’t that way, I’d never be able to concentrate on the task at hand when I am fishing. I’d be worried about things back home.
In fairness, not everyone takes time away from fishing. There are guys who fish 300 days a year. They spend whatever time they aren’t on the water with their wives and children so I don’t want it to sound like I’m morally superior or anything. They care about their wives and kids just as much as I do. All I’m talking about is what works for me.
Time off from fishing isn’t a bad thing. When the rest of your life is in order you can concentrate on fishing when you are actually out there doing it. A 100% focus for a few hours will get you farther than 25% focus for a full day.