Relax, Slow Down and Fish

by Jay Striker

Many times in the world of tournament bass fishing, I find myself getting fired up as the tournament draws near. I’m thinking of all the things that need to be done and what to take, what not to take, and so on. I have found that over time it has been to my benefit to relax, slow down and fish, I hope that the next few moments will help you do that when your next event is upon you as I cover the things I like to do to help me get in the right frame of mind, body and spirit.
Day before the tournament:  When the practice is all done and it’s time to come off the water is when I start my normal routine of getting in the mood to go live on day one of the tournament. The day usually goes something like this; One hour and 30 min before I come off the water I am in the back of a cove re-tying all the lures I need for day one competition. I do this because it is much easier to not have to worry about getting gear ready afterwards when you need to be getting some rest. Then prep the boat, get gas, oil, food, etc., and take off over to the meeting for the event. Here is when I get to start to relax because all the logistics are complete. After the pre- tournament meeting, I head to the campsite or hotel and get ready for further relaxing.
Get fishing off your mind: After spending three days of practicing and only thinking of fishing, the evening before the event is about chilling and just taking my mind off fishing altogether. In the past I used to be up all night thinking about what the fish are going to do, and when and where I’m going first. If you are doing this, let me advise you to stop. It will only add undue pressure you don’t need.  So, take some time and spend it on yourself and relax. If you get enough rest, you will be amazed at how much better you will feel by doing so.
Tournament day: One way to build on the relaxation that you enjoyed the night before is to get to the boat ramp early. My routine is to have my breakfast and a cup of coffee on the way to the lake and listening to some good praise music. Keeping God first place in all I do is a big key to my success in life and on the water. My goal for getting to the ramp early is to be in the water, out of the way with no stress creeping in my thoughts. Blast off for a tournament is one of the highlights in competition bass fishing, but if you let it can be stressful and dangerous. I often see boats one after another wide open, jumping waves; trying to get to a spot. I have learned to just wait until I’m ready and calmly ease out of blast off and let the “flyers” fly as I just start fishing close by.  You will still have 8 hours to fish, so why not stay relaxed and fish.
Catch a limit: The best way to catch a limit is to relax, slow down and fish. I have found that while fishing a tournament to keep a clear head, and one way I do that is by staying relaxed. I often will put on some music in my blue tooth ear piece and just relax to the sounds of the beats. When I’m relaxed, it automatically allows me to slow down. What does it mean to slow down? It means to take time to take some deep breaths, look at your surroundings and take breaks during the day. I have had several co-anglers ask me what I’m doing in the middle of the day when I find a shady cove; drop my power poles, grab my lunch and sit and relax. I tell them to continue to fish, and if I need to get the net, I will. But for me, it’s about slowing down and enjoying the moments.
I encourage you to try some of these things I do, and it my just help you put more fish in the live well. If you see me on the water off in the corner of the lake, I’m probably in relax mode. Till next time, remember to relax, slow down and fish.