Now that I’m in my early 60’s, I’ve often wondered what kind of person I would have become without the people who mentored me, the people who influenced my thoughts and the things I believe in. I am a believer that each of us has a destiny that only the Big Man above knows who we will become. Everyday growing up we were exposed to people around us like teachers, coaches, preachers, aunts, uncles, family friends and more importantly, our parents.
For me personally, each of the above had a big impact on me in so many ways, but my coaches probably had the biggest impact because I was around them more than anyone else. During my generation, coaches were tough and, in most cases, feared. You respected them because they demanded respect. They taught you what it meant to commit to a task and complete that task. They taught mental toughness and how to overcome what the mind was telling the body when the going got tough.
They taught the concept of being a team player and how to work together to conquer an opponent. Team building, as they called it, was a crucial ingredient in the recipe for team success. No one was bigger or better than the team itself. If you thought you were special, my coaches had a way of bringing you back down to earth. How did they do it you ask? Well, a few examples would be 100 yard bear crawls or barrel rolls, up downs for what seemed like hours but was only for a few minutes, or maybe they just ran you until you either threw up or just couldn’t go any further. They pushed you to limits you thought you could not achieve. Today, the ways my coaches got your full attention would be called child abuse and would not be tolerated. More than likely, you’d end up in court dealing with a lawsuit.
Even though my days of competing on the football and baseball fields are long gone, fishing bass tournaments has replaced that competitive fire that I still have. Over the years and now into my early 60’s, my mindset has changed. No longer do I pre-fish from daylight till dark five days straight before an event. I’m just not that mad at the fish anymore and my competitive fire is not as strong as it used to be.
Today, you have to fish smarter not harder and utilize your time on the water more effectively. With today’s high-tech electronics that bass boats possess, it has made searching for bass a lot easier. We used to spend all day casting to find fish, but now all we must do is idle around looking at a screen in order to mark and locate schools of bass.
There a few other things you can do to help prepare for an event like having good line on each reel and making sure your hooks are sharp. Another thing that can help give you a slight advantage, adding your favorite scent to every bag of worms can sometimes make a difference in the number of bites you get in a day. Does it really work? As any professional angler would tell you…if YOU believe it works and gives you more confidence, use it!
To wrap this up, don’t mistake my lower level of commitment to a form of weakness. My desire to win still burns and it hurts just as bad today to lose as it did twenty years ago. All anglers play armchair quarterback on the drive home and question what they could have done differently that might have resulted in a higher place of finish. No one plays devils advocate more than bass fishermen!
Tournament bass fishing is not so much about what bait or color you’re throwing, it’s about the decisions you make on tournament day. Making the right move to a different location at the right time is the difference in catching fish or not. TIMING IN BASS FISHING IS EVERYTHING! The anglers that make the right moves at the right time, are usually cashing a check.
Till next time, good luck, good fishing and make sure you wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen. Melanoma is the number one killer of all the cancers and it’s one that can be prevented.