May 28, 2014 by Casey Martin
The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.
May has been a busy month. I've been doing a lot of work on the water, in particular guiding on Lake Guntersville. Last November I traveled to Panama City, Fla., to get my U.S. Coast Guard captain license. I then started a guide service that sees me on Lake Guntersville in the spring and fall and on Lake St. Clair in Michigan during the summer. I've also been fine-tuning my boat for the next two events on the Walmart FLW Tour, and making sure my electronics are at peak performance. That process includes me getting familiar with my new units so I'm able to identify schools of fish on Pickwick Lake and Kentucky Lake. I was able to get over to Pickwick for a day and a half of pre-practice, but the bass weren't out deep, as I had hoped. No doubt things will change there come tournament time.
I also have a couple days planned for Kentucky Lake pre-practice. In fact, I'm going to be on the water more than off it for the next several weeks. This year has been hard to keep up with, what with me trying to coordinate everything from fishing the Rayovac FLW Series events and Walmart FLW Tour, fulfilling sponsorship obligations, spending days on the water learning new techniques, and starting my guide business. I really enjoy staying busy, and I'm glad my career is progressing, but I think fishing too much has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. It's hard to stay sharp and plan ahead with so much going on, but I'm adjusting to it quickly. In the long run it'll help me be better able to make a career of fishing.
I read David Dudley's blog last month about treating your body like the athlete you are. I completely agree with his observations, though it's difficult to stay in tiptop shape without a strict schedule, and that can be really tough to follow. I'm hoping to get back on track, but when you wake up a 4 a.m. to be on the lake for a 5:30 guide trip, it's just too easy to stop and get a biscuit and an energy drink for breakfast, eat gas station food for lunch and more than likely grab fast food on the way home because you're pressed for time.
Sometimes being on the water too much can hurt your tournament fishing as well. I think you need some time away from the water to reboot and get back to the point where you actually miss being out there and catching fish. Honestly, my hands are torn up from hooks, taking photos of fish and otherwise looking after guiding chores. Although I wear SPF-80 sunscreen, I swear my face feels like leather.
Yet even with the early mornings, long days, sunburn, sore body and disappointing tournaments at Sam Rayburn and Beaver, I still wouldn't trade the lifestyle for anything. It definitely beats the bland cubicles, daily meetings and design reviews that characterized my previous life as an electrical engineer. When I started living my dream in 2010 to make a living solely from fishing income, I knew there would be a lot of ups and downs. Now I'm looking forward to getting out on the Tennessee River lakes again, as I feel more comfortable and at home on them. Hopefully the next two events will have some highs in store that will quickly make me forget about the recent lows.
I want to thank all my sponsors because without them fishing professionally wouldn't be an option for me. I have some of the best sponsors out there, including Keystone Light and all the others who have taken a chance on me. I can't thank them enough and probably can never repay the support they've provided me, but I'll do my best.
You can see the list of my great sponsors at caseymartinfishing.com, where you can also find more information on my guide service.
Until next time,