I have always been a proponent of finding ways to catch more fish and recently I implemented a new tactic into my arsenal. The new tactic is exercise and nutrition. It is neglected by so many anglers and it is one key to success on the water. I will use the regimen that I implemented for an example of what I do to prepare myself for the tournament season.
In a Wal Mart Bass Fishing League tournament in 2001, I had the best fifteen minutes ever in a tournament but it was a mental nightmare about to happen. I put 9 pounds and four keepers in the live well. The bigger fish were hitting for some reason at this part of the morning and by 6:55 or so I had four fish and knew I was dabbling on my first BFL win. Well I proceeded to fish as hard as I could for 7 hours to come up short on that fifth fish and ended with a 9th place respectable but disappointing finish. I, at about hour 4, was probably as exhausted as I have ever been in some time. The bass never stopped biting except for the bigger ones. I caught fifty or so fish after those initial keepers but never could muster a keeper. I had one potential fish that got off somewhere in the 5th hour that completely frustrated me. I said then never again! I will not lose another tournament due to my physical conditioning causing a mental lapse .
For those of you who do not fish tournaments this can be for your safety and enjoyment of a day on the water as well. For the tournament angler it is very important for your success as an angler and can save you from injury. I played football and baseball in college, and was used to a conditioning regime. So I sat down and wrote out what I thought I needed to do make myself a better fisherman. Time on the water is so important and the first thing I started doing was strengthening my back and abs to combat the rigors of heavy waves and running in them in the boat. The strengthening ensured me I would not be in pain and would not lose time on the water due to injury. I started running a few miles a day and then began a weight lifting program this year. Some of my weight lifting consists of upper body lifts and strengthening to help with flipping and pitching, as well as any technique was a strong quick hook set is necessary. Also I do many torso exercises to help with sweeping hook sets much like those in Carolina rigging. Other considerations I think about are knee muscle strengthening for stability and combating injury as well. A three day workout works well for me but it is up to the persons individual needs and time constraints but any conditioning will improve your success on the water. I have also tried to implement good balanced nutrition, especially on the road. It is so easy to pull into the McDonalds but I try to seek out a well balanced meal rather than just short cut my food. I also take nutritional supplements to help when tournament day rolls around and I need a little more energy. Vitamins, whey protein, creatine, and a few herbs for mental sharpness seem to work well for me but I recommend that anglers speak to their doctor to for advice on what is needed for them individually. The result from my new conditioning and nutrition was a complete tournament day that I was mentally focused until the last cast. Finally if any of you watched the Bass Masters Classic last year or even recently the tour event on Guntersville, you saw how your last casts can be the most important so implement some kind of conditioning to have that focus when it counts at the end of the day.