Shifting focus for 2022

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James Overstreet

As we step into a new year, all the focus shifts to the 2022 fishing schedule. I enjoyed a nice Christmas season with family and friends, and that time of relaxation is an important part of getting myself mentally ready for the work ahead.

I don’t do much hunting in the offseason; I mostly go fishing because that keeps me in the swing. I’ve done a lot of saltwater fishing, and I recently fished in the Amazon. In fact, I probably do more “other” fishing to break the grind of bass tournaments.

I enjoy getting out there and jamming to the music with friends and just having fun fishing, because tournament fishing is a job. It’s fun, I enjoy it, but it’s a different kind of fishing. It’s our 9 to 5 that’s more like 5 to 9, to be honest.

One of the things I’m excited about doing is getting all my gear in order. I really want to have fresh tackle, fresh rods — everything really organized this year. I don’t want to waste any time dillydallying on the road, so I want to keep everything concise and organized.

In todays fishing, you have to be quick and versatile. You have to have everything at your disposal. You have to be efficient on the water, you have to be efficient off the water and you have to be efficient in the offseason.

I’ve spent time during the offseason working on organization so I’m not digging around in the back of my truck for 30 minutes and looking for a pack of worms because I can’t figure out where they are. 

Moments like that are mood changers and distractions, so keeping everything organized in the boat and truck allows me to quickly access whatever I need. That, in turn, helps keep my mood positive and my mind focused on the task at hand.

This commitment to organization allows me to spend more time preparing for the different fisheries we’ll visit. In January, I’m going to spend a lot of time on my maps to game plan for the first couple of Elite tournaments.

I’ve also been paying attention to weather cycles, because everything is dependent on weather. It’s a very important factor because it determines how far along these fish may or may not be. 

We’ve obviously had a very mild fall and winter, but here’s what you have to be careful of with Florida fishing: It’s warm, everything’s great and you’re like, “This is going to be awesome. It’s going to be a warm spring.”

Then, all of a sudden, the cold front hits during the tournament and turns what would have been a really awesome event into one of the toughest events of the year. I would rather the fish have some conditioning at this point where there have been some cold fronts, and they’ve gotten used to it. 

That puts them where they need to be, and they get a little more frisky. I would rather have a cold December/January and a warming February than a warm December/January and a cold February. That would complicate things.

I can tell you that, regardless of what happens, I’ll be fishing with complete confidence in my new Skeeter FXR21 with the new Yamaha 250 VMax SHO. That motor has a much higher-amp alternator, and that’s going to be great for all the running around that we do. 

Our graphs have gotten bigger over the years, and they draw a lot of power, so having that large alternator is going to allow that motor to put a lot of juice back on those batteries. The peace of mind this motor provides, along with my organizational readiness, will help me deliver my best performance for the 2022 fishing season.