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A Juggling Act for Weekend Anglers

Brian-Adams-6-lb-11-oz-Largemouth-BassResponsibility sucks!  Bills, jobs, diaper changing, dog walking and anything else which requires me to be a grown up in today’s world, NOT LIKING IT!  Well, maybe having to grow up isn’t really all that bad, no more curfew, have my own money (when the wife gives me my allowance) and a family who you live and breathe for, it has its perks.  But when you try to juggle everything that gets thrown at you all the while trying to focus on being a competitive fisherman, it can be exhausting.  So how do you take all of these responsibilities and turn them into success on the water?

Let me give you a rundown of a typical weekday for me.  Up at 4:15 AM (Yup, starting good isn’t it!), out the door by 5:30.  56 miles and 1 hr 20 minutes later, I get to the office.  7:30 – 4:00, dealing with forgotten passwords, e-mail not working, trying to explain the intricacies of the mouse right-click function…. I have a permanent dent in my keyboard, which suspiciously looks like my forehead.  The quitin whistle sounds, another 56 miles dodging text messaging 20 something’s, pulling up in the driveway, walk through the door, seeing my family anxiously waiting for me, dinner, homework, quality time, then fall into bed to do it all over again.  Sounds like a lot but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As weekend anglers, we look forward to just that.  The weekend is ours to get out on the water, implement the seek and destroy drive we all have inside of us and mind dump everything else,  kind of like Kevin Costner said in “For The Love of the Game” – “Clear the Mechanism”.  But wait, there’s more.  Toss in Saturday softball games, honoring our fallen heroes as the North Carolina Coordinator for Flags for Fallen Military, maintaining a strong relationship with our Savior on Sundays, much-needed family get-a-ways and our preparation time has become an afterthought.  So how do you stay competitive all the while ensuring you maintain balance in your daily life?

If you’re like me, you have had to back the trailer down the ramp on tournament day without having the chance to do any on the water homework.   Your mind is racing through the Rolodex of information you have stored from years of history on the lake, but trying to piece it together and lay out an effective plan is pretty much near impossible.  I have found when this happens, simplicity is the key!

Back to the Basics

Before HD GPS’s, side-scanners and trained fish finding scuba diving spider monkeys (my guess for the next big craze!), we had these cool things called waterproof maps.  You could take them anywhere, write all over them and they never stop working as your running down the lake.  Even with all of the technological advancements in fishing today, these are still invaluable tools used to formulate a successful plan when your practice time is limited.

Since I have never been accused of possessing an outstanding memory, years ago I began the practice of keeping a journal of each lake when I would fish.  Detailed information such as water temps, terrain, baits, depths, time of year, etc. would go into my entries, slowly building a comprehensive database of information I can refer back to at any time.  Using this “history” so to speak, I can begin to build the foundation of a successful outing.  This will help me eliminate as much unproductive water as possible and narrow my research.

We have just begun to scratch the surface of my approach to preparing for a tournament without getting the practice time I need.  In part two of this series, we will look at taking advantage of the limited time on the water and making the most of tackle selection.  I’m off to attack the honey-do-list!