Fine Tuning During the Offseason

What do the BASS Elite Series pros do during the offseason? A better question might be to ask whether they ever get an offseason. A minute spent idle, not working on tackle, strategy or scouting, is an opportunity for their peers to get ahead of them. No one has time to rest. Count Maryland pro Grant Goldbeck among the restless.

He may have a few months with no Elite Series events, but he'll spend all of that time working on his game. "I don't take any time off," he says. "I love it too much. The day I want to take off time other than to spend with my son and family is the day I won't be doing this any more. That's what has gotten all 108 of us to this point is that we really do love it."

The first prong of his efforts to improve his game involves new techniques and equipment. "I like to take new products and new techniques and try to learn about them in hopes I can use them in years to come," he says. "There are a lot of things you learn about during the season that you don't have time to work on. You may learn about them from another one of the pros, but you don't have time to practice. There's too much on the line during tournament time." A prime example in his case is the swimbait technique, one which has been used by western trophy hunters for a number of years but is still relatively new to the wider tournament scene.

"Last year I took about three months working on my swimbait fishing, just going out and learning about them," Goldbeck says. "I learned that I could fish them real deep, situations where I could catch them on a jig but I could use the swimbait to get a bigger bite.

On my home reservoir I had an incredible fall and early winter doing that. At Amistad it paid off almost immediately. The first day at Amistad this year I caught one almost 8 pounds in about 35-40 feet of water, on the bottom, on a big 10-ounce swimbait. " He intends to do more work with the big baits this year and has scheduled some trips out West in order to delve further into the subject. But he doesn't limit his fine tuning to new techniques.

He also builds upon those products and strategies that are already in his arsenal. "I try to learn more about equipment I already have, how to do more things with the products I've already been fishing with," he explained. That includes both time on the water and time spent at home. "I'm a big jig fisherman," he explained, "so every week, when I'm just sitting around watching boxing or the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) matches, I'm just constantly tying jigs.

I can never have enough of them. " That doesn't mean he won't continue to refine his craft during the tour season, only that working on the finer points of his game during the offseason gives him the freedom to branch out without needing to worry about the money that's on the line.

Fortunately, he likes the research, so it doesn't seem like work, nor does it ever get repetitive. "If I go a week without fishing I'm going to lose my mind," he said. "I still am learning every day."

(Provided by Z3 Media)

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