By Steve Graf
So, do you think you want to be a professional bass fisherman? Well, we’ve already covered this once, but today we’ll look at what and how some of the greatest anglers in the world spend their off-season or downtime. After being on the road for weeks and months at a time away from family, pro anglers are looking to slow down and catch their breath. Because of the everyday grind and dedication, it takes to compete at the highest level, anglers need to recharge their batteries. Let’s look at the different ways these guys re-energize themselves and get ready for another long season of fishing.
Most professional anglers grew up either in the woods or on the water. Most have an extensive past of hunting big game, ducks, squirrels, or hogs. Most cut their teeth and might have even been in diapers when they shot their first deer. But nothing brings them back down to earth more than spending quality time at their favorite hunting camp. It’s not about the kill as much as it is about just getting away from the pressure and demands anglers are under during the regular season. It’s going out and sitting in a deer stand where all you can hear is the wind blowing, squirrels barking, and the cracking of the sunflowers seeds they’re eating. Yes, it’s true they do fall asleep once in a while when the deer aren’t moving, but that’s okay. They take no phone calls and are unavailable for interviews. The only calls they take are from their publicist or from one of their many sponsors….oh and maybe their wives or children. Sometimes they won’t even talk to their friends! But it’s the time back at the camp talking to their hunting buddies about the big deer they saw or missed while enjoying some of the great meals, that makes a hunting camp special. It’s the stories they tell year after year about previous hunts, stories they’ve already told time and time again. But no one really cares, because the stories (lies) just get bigger and better with every passing year.
Amongst the many professional anglers, some would rather hunt waterfowl and sit in a duck blind for hours…again telling more stories about how many ducks they’ve killed over the years, or they discuss why there are not as many ducks as there used to be. But one thing that makes a good duck hunt…the biscuits and sausage they cook and share in the blind while waiting on the next group of birds to come into the hole they are sitting on. One common theme for any hunting trip is the food. For some reason, hunting camp or duck blind food is always better than any meal you can get anywhere else on the planet. Not sure why, but it’s true!
But one thing I’ve always found strange is another way some of the pros relax; they go fishing! Yes, I said fishing! Who would have thought that since these guys are on the water trying to make a living from January through September, that fishing would be a way for them to relax? Let me help you understand this. There’s a huge difference between fishing tournaments and fun fishing. Some of the pros use this time to test new lures they’ve been involved with designing for the companies they’re representing like Strike King and Berkley. This is something pro anglers really enjoy…designing baits that will hit the market one day with their name on it. But fun fishing for some of these guys is a trip into the marsh or saltwater fishing for speckled trout and redfish. This is when they can be with their family or friends and just enjoy a day on the water without cameras or a boat official watching their every move.
The life of a professional bass fisherman can be a hectic one. There’s a lot of pressure to not only perform at a high level but put food on the table for their families. The stress is off the chart for all of these guys because if they’re not successful, they will be eliminated from the pro tour and replaced by another up-and-coming young angler. Just because you make it to the highest level of bass fishing, does not guarantee you a spot for life. Anglers still must go out and perform. This is why they need that downtime to relax and get away from the everyday grind it takes to be a professional bass fisherman. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen.
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