Triton/Mercury pro Randy Howell is yet another professional angler who knows the importance of maintaining fitness for optimal performance on the water. I caught up with Howell recently and asked him a few questions about the role fitness plays in his fishing career.
FS: When did you start exercising and what got you into it?
RH: I’ve been in sports my whole life and was always real active. Then I got ulcerated colitis and my colon burst in 90’s. After recovery, I really started going back to working out and trying to do more functional stuff… just trying to stay fit you know, not really about big muscles or anything like that.
It’s a habit I’ve gotten into. It’s a good habit that you have to develop over time because it gets so hard on the road… all the driving, having a hard time eating healthy, those long days on the water takes its toll, it starts catching up with you. My wife helps a lot. She keeps me motivated even when I don’t feel like it. She’s actually trying to become a personal trainer.
FS: What kind of exercise do you do?
I do a lot of weights in the gym. I got a trainer friend who helps me with that. With my condition, I have to be careful not to lose too much weight, so strength training really helps me with that. I really don’t run or anything like that. I try hard enough to keep from losing weight!
FS: How do you think exercise helps your fishing?
RH: Our sport is more mental than it is about technique. The 100 guys out there are pretty much equal in skills, but the mental part in your head is where you make the right decisions. The mental side is affected a lot by your physical wellness. If you’re back is hurting bad, it affects your mental wellness. You start feeling lazy if you’re not in shape and second guessing whether you want to make one more stop, or get up again and put that trolling motor down. It really makes a big difference to me. It helps me to stay active and in shape. Your mind is controlled a lot by how you feel physically.
Not starving yourself is really important too. Most guys go out and don’t eat. You can’t make good decisions when your blood sugar drops and you’re concerned with hunger. You get more agitated when the day’s not going well. You start spiraling downhill easier.
FS: Do you have any particular pre-tournament routine or something you try to follow while on the road?
RH: I’ll take a hot shower when I get up, lay on the floor, and stretch. That helps. I don’t do any weights or anything during tournament days. I may do some pushups in the morning. I’ll pray too because I’m a real spiritual person.
FS: What about the off-season?
I work with my trainer whenever I can. We’ll do back and biceps on one day, chest and shoulders on another day. We do a lot of core work too. We do fishing specific exercises… a lot of functional muscle work in the arms and shoulders, working the “opposite muscles” like the back sides of my hands and forearms. If you don’t do that you get a lot of injuries. I do some simple stuff that not a lot of people would think about.
FS: If you had to choose one, what’s the one exercise you couldn’t live without?
FS: Great choice. Very healthy for the shoulders and it provides a lot of abdominal stimulation for a strong core. Thanks, Randy! I really appreciate your time and glad you are helping to reinvent the fishing culture in the direction of the athlete angler.