Thanks to the past champions and innovators like the legendary Ray Scott, our sport has gone from a niche hobby to a high stakes, nationally broadcasted, athletic endurance event that challenges both the mind and body.
Like other athletes, competitive bass fishermen burn energy, get tired, develop injuries and sore muscles, etc… If you can’t successfully manage these factors then you’ll have a harder time outperforming the competition. This is a sport where one extra cast and one ounce can be the difference between 1st place and “1st loser”. This is why preparation is such a huge factor in tournaments. You need to prepare your 1) mind, 2) equipment, AND 3) your body. Most of the top anglers are pretty good at the first two, but many struggle with the third. So, why are you fueling your tournament day with a diet soda and gas station candy bar? Is this how an athlete fuels for the big game?
I know guys who don’t even eat breakfast before they start fishing. So many guys totally blow off taking care of their most precious resource – their body. I once fished a tournament with a guy who attempted to sustain himself all day on Brach’s caramel candy. I don’t even remember him drinking anything all day!
I know I’m not alone on this whole nutrition/fitness campaign. Not to sound like some kind of bark-eating Yoga teacher, but some of bass fishing’s finest have committed themselves to a more holistic approach when it comes to their tournament preparation. This involves not only nutritional optimization, but also physical conditioning.
Elite Series pro John Crews has a reputation for being on the fitness and nutrition bandwagon. According to Crews, physical conditioning is not only essential to improve performance, but to avoid injuries that would be detrimental to in-season performance. “We’re more susceptible to injury at the beginning of the season, after the de-conditioning of the off-season”, says Crews. Muscle strains and overuse injuries are very common in this sport and inflammatory conditions like “fishing elbow” have become a daily struggle for many tournament pros.
In addition to preventing nagging injuries, Crews believes that his consistent exercise regimen enables him to maintain a higher capacity of performance on the water. “I’m able to fish harder and recover faster from the previous day.” he affirms.
He backed it up with an Elite Series win last year on the California Delta.
If you’re like me, you’re willing to do just about anything to get that next big bite. You replace dull hooks, clean and lubricate your reels, spend hours organizing tackle and spooling up fresh line, studying maps, etc… You might even store your rods in those cozy little rod socks! All of that is great, but what have you done to improve and prepare your body this week?