Prepping for the next season


Shane Durrance

The casual fan probably doesn’t realize how busy Bassmaster Elite Seris anglers are during the offseason to get ready for next year.

Although some of what we do may not pertain to a local angler or tournament fisherman, there are elements of our preparation that may help you get better prepared as well. 

Most of us have to go through a mental and physical reset at the end of the season. For some guys, that means parking the boat and climbing up a tree where they’ll spend most of the fall season deer hunting.

That’s a nice break for them and helps get them mentally and physically straight for the next season.

I’m a bit different. I don’t hunt much anymore, so I park the boat after the last tournament and don’t do much for about a month other than spend time running my Phoenix Boat Company and going to the gym.

I love time in the gym, be it working out or playing basketball. It not only keeps me physically fit, but it gives me a mental diversion from work and fishing.

After a while though, I start getting the itch to mess with my tackle.

I ordered baits sooner this year because manufacturers fell behind in production schedules. This is due to the coronavirus that had many companies temporarily shut down, and then there was the growing interest in fishing.

I order the lures I use regularly but often buy a few of the new baits to give them a try. I always set up a separate box with new baits to experiment with when I’m fun fishing. It’s a good way to see how a bait performs in the water and how fish react to it – when there isn’t money on the line.

Of course, I’ll reassess my rod-and-reel combos and replace those that need replaced. However, I generally don’t re-spool with line too far ahead of my next fishing trip. Line that sits on a reel for an extended period of time will develop memory and can kink when you first start using it.

I also get my new boat rigged and ready well in advance so I can get it on the water and make sure everything is dialed in and ready to go. I set up my graphs with the functions I use most often and make sure I’m loaded with the latest mapping versions.

Regardless of what level of tournament angler you may be, you never want to get a new boat just prior to your first tournament.

Use it a week just to get used to it. Take the time to organize your tackle within the storage compartments so you automatically know where to find those items you use most often.

Of course, there are other issues we must deal with in the offseason, such as sponsor contracts, getting new boat wraps, obtaining fishing licenses, arranging lodging and other travel matters so we don’t have to deal with much once the season is under way.

Come December, I start thinking about Florida fishing to fish a lake that isn’t on our schedule. It gets me reacquainted with my equipment and helps sharpen my skills before the season kicks off.

Your fishing season may be several weeks away, but it’s time to start gearing up.

That first cast of a new season may produce the big bite you’ve been dreaming about, and you want to be ready.