We are about month out from the 2015 Bassmaster Classic and I find myself putting countless hours in my shop preparing for it and the upcoming season. It seems like every year I try to focus on simplifying things more and more. I think it is widely known that I am a tackle junky, tinkerer, and collector. This makes simplifying a difficult task, but I believe that the simpler I can keep things, the better chance I have to be successful.
There are several reasons for my thinking. First, the more complex your approach is, the less focused you are on the water. It isn’t as simple as just having a few techniques and key baits and heading out on tour, but for every bait or technique I won’t use, I can focus on those that I will use. Any tackle I carry in my boat that I won’t use, just gets in the way: both mentally and organizationally.
There is a fine line between eliminating what I won’t need and simplifying too much. If I eliminate too much, I will end up leaving something out that I might later want. At the Classic in New Orleans in 2011, I left my square bills out—a painful mistake. It may only be once every two years that I am looking for a particular bait in a tournament and that too is very distracting. The feeling that I am missing a particular bait which could be effective is a miserable one, and it definitely affects my focus. That is something I risk every time I remove something from the boat. To help avoid that, I carry a lot more with me in practice and then streamline everything before the tournament begins.
I think every year I get a little bit better at simplifying and organizing my tackle. It is a cycle that will never end. As I add new techniques and products to my boat, inevitably I will need to remove some.
Improving my physical health is another key component to getting ready for the season. My collective attention to running and eating correctly over the past few years has really helped me on tour. By being healthier, I am able to put more time into fishing without losing energy. Additionally, keeping my energy level high helps me focus better while I am on the water. Being tired or having low energy levels makes it difficult to keep the kind of mental focus it takes to compete against the best anglers in the world. I really believe that being fit gives me a competitive advantage, and it can do the same for you.