UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Veterans Insist Fitness is Key to Staying Competitive

Veterans Insist Fitness is Key to Staying Competitive
Andy Morgan

Today’s trend in competitive fishing illustrates the advantage of youth. While traditional logic supports experience as the underlying factor in tournament success, recent events have proven that stamina and strength might be just as important. Wins by competitive anglers over the age of 40 are becoming less common, and many veteran FLW Tour pros are taking note. Here are four big names that are finding it necessary to stay in shape, for reasons others overlook.

 

Andy Morgan – Age 46

Andy Morgan is one of FLW’s all-time greats, but, at the age of 46, he’s concerned his reign might abruptly end. He chimed in on his way to the gym.

“I exercise three to five days a week when I’m home; some weightlifting and a little running, and I’ll stretch each morning before fishing,” he says.

For Morgan, staying physically fit pays off late in a tournament day.

“It will put three to four more hours in my back,” he says. “With today’s information network, these young guys have the knowledge that took us 20 years to accumulate, and they have a strong back.”

Morgan’s favorite exercises to gain the most stamina are squats and deadlifts. Being physically able to keep pushing and keep focused makes a big difference, he says, in avoiding distraction on the water.

“Anything you can do to fight it [distraction],” Morgan adds, “whether it’s buying good rain gear or staying in shape, you have to take those steps to stay focused.”

 

Terry Bolton – Age 48

Terry Bolton practices a more natural method of staying in shape that involves staying out of the gym.

“I hate to run, unless someone is chasing me with a gun,” he says, “but I ride my bike a lot in the winter, maybe six to 10 miles a day.

“To each his own, but you have to enjoy what you take on. For me, it’s bike riding.”

Bolton adds that, as a property owner on Kentucky Lake, nothing beats a day of routine maintenance.

“I’ll work on the dock, or maybe grab a chainsaw and cut trees for a day. Now that will put you in really good shape.”

Regardless of how he manages his physical condition, Bolton says it’s important. He reasons that young competitors gain an advantage simply because they don’t wear down.

“On tough days, you get tired, which leads to bad casts and poor performance,” he says. “That snowballs and gets worse. But young guys don’t get tired. They push through the bad times, and good things happen. They roll with it.”

Bolton also acknowledges poor decision-making among older, less fit anglers.

“After a bad day, if you’re tired, you might elect to go to the hotel early. The young guys will practice another hour or two, and often it pays off.”

 

Chad Morgenthaler – Age 51

Chad Morgenthaler’s been around the tournament block, and, through it all, has remained incredibly competitive throughout his entire career. Now 51, Morgenthaler is adamant about stretching and nutrition. His diet surpasses 3,000 calories daily and is made up of high protein and high carb meals, spaced out every two to three hours.

“Frequency is the key,” he says, “to sustained energy.”

Each morning, Morgenthaler starts his day with a yoga-inspired stretching routine that lasts for 15 to 30 minutes. He follows with 45 minutes of weight training and “as much cardio as I can stand.” Morgenthaler’s favorite routine involves deep hip and hamstring stretches to avoid tightness in the back. He aims to keep to his schedule three to five times weekly, year-round.

“In the long run, over seven days [as in a Tour event and practice], it will keep me focused mentally. It keeps me in the game,” he says. “Going into the final day, I still have the energy and ability to compete against the younger guys.”

Morgenthaler gives a case in point: “This year, at Okeechobee, I fished seven days straight in the wind and rough water, and, at the end of it all, I felt good. Those opportunities are few and far between anyway, so I want to be able to go the distance when they come around.”

 

Scott Martin – Age 42

“You can’t group me in there with the old guys,” insists Scott Martin.

But, at 43, he goes against the trend of youthful champions. While at home in Florida, Martin works out possibly heavier than any other bass pro, thanks to a serious fitness buddy.

“I train with an ex-NFL guy about two hours a day,” he says.

Martin’s CrossFit style is admirable for anyone, regardless of age. He blends 200 push-ups daily with as many as 500 sit-ups or crunches, and often totes dumbbells in his truck when traveling.

For him, the desire for strength equates to increased efficiency on the water.

“If I can walk to the front of the boat twice as fast, or switch rods twice as fast, or make better casts, that’s what I’m after,” he says. “The key is to stay mentally focused on the task at hand.”

In addition to a pro-athlete workout routine, Martin is a firm believer in certain energy drinks.

“That Sqwincher stuff is the real deal,” he insists. “It’s all electrolytes, high in potassium and low in sodium, and it’s not loaded with sugar. It rejuvenates your body.”

Martin combines his beverage choice with beef jerky and lunchmeat roll-ups in the boat for increased protein, and avoids any sugary snacks or chips.

Food is a major part of his strategy. One of his best tips for other anglers is to eat healthy dinners. After getting to a new town at each event, Martin scopes out the neighborhood sushi restaurant, where he might eat several evening meals.

Of course, Martin’s lineage supports his lifestyle.

“I learned this from my dad [Roland Martin],” says Scott. “He was known on the tournament trail for his longevity. Guys would wake up to the sound of him doing the stairs at the hotel every morning at 4:30 a.m.”

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