August 8, 2014 by Scott Martin
Editor’s Note: 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.
Summer is in full bloom. I just got home after a short family vacation in the Florida Keys where we enjoyed some saltwater fishing. I also spent a few hot days on Lake Murray doing some scouting for the upcoming Forrest Wood Cup, which is less than a week away. I’m excited about this event and can’t wait to compete as I try to win a second Forrest Wood Cup, which would be really awesome.
When I look back at tournaments that I’ve done well in over the years, success has always boiled down to a couple of key moments – or even one key moment – throughout practice or during the event that helped me dial in. We can talk a lot about how to prepare with maps and how to prepare with certain types of lures and all the different things that you go through to ready yourself to win a tournament, but it’s those small, enlightening moments – a bait choice, a location choice – that often make the biggest difference.
So how do you improve your chances to take full advantage of such opportunities when they pop up? That’s what I want to talk about in this blog: the physical side of competing successfully in bass tournaments. It starts with staying properly hydrated, eating the right food and staying on a consistent exercise plan.
The last several years I’ve been exercising quite a bit – doing a lot of running, sit-ups and core exercises. Time in the gym has really helped me do well in tournaments because spending 12 to 14 hours a day standing on one leg with the other foot on the trolling motor and making thousands of casts can wear an angler out quickly. Not to mention, there’s a lot of physical and mental stress associated with the high-pressure environment of a major tournament and all the other elements thrown at you on the water. Having good physical health, good muscle tone and good stamina can keep you alert and sharp and help you maintain the peak of performance.
Another key point is to stay properly hydrated and eat the right food on the road. It’s funny, but I actually lose weight when I’m on the road and gain weight when I go home. That’s because when I go home I relax with the family, and I seem to find myself tempted by the cookies and all the other things that I shouldn’t eat. When I’m on the road, I’m very regimented, and my typical day on or off the water starts with a little fruit in the morning and snacks that are high in protein throughout the day.
I love Bridgford beef jerky. Over the years I’ve eaten a lot of jerky, from different sources, and I can honestly say the Bridgford brand is awesome. It rocks! I’ll carry a bag or two of Bridgford jerky in the boat with me and chew on the high-protein snack throughout the day. It really helps me stay even. I don’t have those lulls or spikes in energy – often followed by lethargy – that you get from eating junk food such as crackers, cookies and sweets. Jerky is a great alternative.
For staying hydrated, I discovered a product earlier this year that honestly has helped me in so many different ways, whether I’m at the gym working out or on the water fishing. It’s called Sqwincher, a powdered mix that I add to any bottle of water for an electrolyte replacement. It’s not an energy drink. It’s not a bunch of crazy stuff. It’s just simply an electrolyte replacement, high in potassium. You need to replace those electrolytes. For me, Sqwincher is a lifesaver.
Another important tip is that I carry an extra 35-quart Engel cooler that’s full of ice and cold drinks. In addition to extra ice for myself, the cooler also provides extra ice for the fish in my Ranger livewell should I need it. During summertime events, extremely high water temperatures can be hazardous to the health of your catch, and having that extra ice in the boat can help you keep the water temperature in your livewell at a healthier level.
So how does all this make you successful on the water? It allows you to stay focused and stay enthused throughout the day. And that increases your chances of figuring out the little puzzles that always pop up, which can make a difference come tournament time.
Follow these simple tips, and I believe they’ll help you catch more fish and maybe even win a tournament. But more importantly, they can help keep you healthy for many years to come.
See you at Lake Murray for the championship.