This is a topic that highly interests me. Fishing is a sport, and in almost all other realms of sport there is vast knowledge on physical fitness and proper nutrition. I hope these aspects will become more mainstream in the world of fishing. If you have any aspirations of fishing for a living, consistently being out on the water, or you want to live a healhty life, nutrition and fitness are something to keep in mind. Let me elaborate on these ideas.
A bass tournamnet is usually eight hours of competition. Then if you add in the early mornings, long drives, and inclimate weather, you have yourself an energy draining day. So how do we as anglers best prepare for our days on the water? As for any athletic adventure, or daily life for that matter, Hydration is crucial. Everyone's hydration and nutrtion needs will vary slightly. The preparation, to be in tip top shape, for a long day on the water starts in the days prior. Especially the days before a tournament, I focus on getting in 120-140oz of water. On the day of the tournamnet, I have found it easiest to stay hydrated by drinking every time the big motor goes on. I have struggled with time management during tournaments; it used to be that I would fish the whole event without any breaks and barely any food or water. In my mind I was thinking "If I waste any time that is time I cannot fish." This year though I changed my mindset and so far the best days of fishing have been those I took longer lunch breaks.
Speaking of lunch, I want to talk about my eating habits while on the water. Yet again, everyone is different and I recommend you experiment to find what is best for you. As for myself, I like to eat Kodiak Oats with berries and almond butter in the morning beofre leaving the house, they fill me up and keep me full for a long time. So I will have eaten that, along with coffee or tea around 3:30-5:00am depending on where I will fish that day. On the drive to the water I like to get in at least 24oz of water. In the hot summer months I always bring a cooler out on the boat which makes it really easy to bring food along. In my normal day-to-day life I prefer 2-3 big meals a day while limiting snacking. On the water it is exaclty opposite. In the cooler I will have around 100oz of water, Caveman Bars, mixed nuts, crackers, cheese and a sandwhich of some sort. I let the day dictate when I will eat, if it is action heavy early I will wait to eat. If it has been a struggle for a few hours, I like to take this as a sign to take a break. So take fifteen minutes or so, drink up, eat something, use the bathroom, rig tackle, look at the map and analzye the situation. Do this as many times as you need during your outing. Often this "down time" will provide much needed clues and clarity to help capitalize on the day. On the drive home I like to have another snack ready and 24oz of water to help replenish the calories I have burned all day and the water I have lost due to sweat and wind.
The importance of nutrition and hydration; if I said "Would you like to have low energy and brain fog?" your answer would surely be "No." To ensure this doesn't happen you need to ensure you are consciously drinking water and eating as needed. When your base needs are not met, it is near impossible to fully focus on the task at hand. Find foods that are good and good for you. In my time fishing tournaments I have seen how many people treat their body. Countless energy drinks get slugged back and guys are running on three hours of sleep at times. These are not conditions to help you operate at peak performance. If anything that is my main message of this article; you can fish with poor nutrition, hydration and fitness, but if you want to maximize your time on the water and keep doing so for a long time, then you need to be in good condition. As in any other competition, having a mental or physical edge is crucial. I won't go into a whole rant on the topic, but the food you eat directly influences how your brain and body work. (If this topic interests you, I linked an amazing book down below)
Another aspect and way I view fishing. These creatures that we target fight to survive 365 days a year, they are constantly eating and avoiding predators. As humans most of us do not have to worry about procuring food or avoiding predators. When we get on the water, we step into their environment; you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. I am a firm believer that if you show respect you will be respected. So in my mind, if I were to go fishing while tired, dehydrated, and operating on junk food and little sleep I cannot possibly operate at my peak potential. No not everyday will you be able to be at peak levels, but we can do our best. If you truly honor and respect the fish you will honor and respect yourself. To show that respect I eat good, whole foods as much as possible, I keep hydrated, I sleep 7-9 hours before fishing and I maintain good physical condition. When you slack, mistakes can be made very easily. For me I do not take it lightly when I harm a fish or it dies due to my negligence. The best way to ensure this does not happen, in my experience is to be in the moment which is only enhanced when all your bases are covered.
The final part I will glaze over is physical fitness. I will surely write many more in depth articles on all these topics. Fishing is not the most grueling of sports, but it does involve as I mentioned earlier, long days in the elements. Another common factor across tournament fishing that I have noticed is some guys are shot after an event. What if there was a way to have a higher work load so you aren't as beat down, well there is! Maintaining a level of physical preparedness is so important in all aspects of life. You will have increased energy levels, better overall health and a higher work capacity. For anyone who is looking to get in better shape, for any host of reasons, these are my top recommendations. Simply walk; go for a 10-20 minute walk daily, every other day do a few sets of planks, research and find a good daily stretching/yoga routine that works for you. Once you start building in these good habits, then you can add on some weight lifting, and cardio like biking, running or kayaking.
I want to say thank you to everyone who reads this. I really enjoy sharing the knowledge and experiences I have had. If anyone has questions feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram!
Peace, Love and Positivity
Happiness, Strength and Health 🙏
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