Here is my last big post of 2014.
2014 has been one amazing year. There were Lots of things good and bad that happened throughout the year that I can learn and grow from.
I have been fighting a Sinus Infection through almost the whole Christmas break.. This caused me to have no other choice but to slow down which gave me time to reflect on the year and what 2015 has in store..
Over these last couple of years God has shown me what Tournament Bass Fishing is all about. It is amazing how I was introduced to it in the first place. The passion and competitive drive you gain from fishing in Tournaments cannot be explained until you experience it yourself. I have fished ever since I was 2-3 years old and just got exposed to the tournament fishing the past 3 years. The more I fish the more I learn what it takes to get to that Professional Level. I understand that it takes a lot of determination, dedication, and discipline to not only get to that Professional level but to be successful at it for many years and make a living at it.
To make a living as a Professional Angler requires you to not only have amazing Fishing Abilities but be successful in Business Marketing. Company Sponsorships are the reason the Sport of Bass Fishing even exists today.
These last couple years I have been able to expand my fishing abilities and learn more about the business side of fishing. My fishing has improved drastically since Sept 2012. 2 of my first 3 tournaments I zeroed in. I can honestly say that before joining a Tournament trail like American Bass Anglers, American Fishing Tour I zeroed almost as many days as I caught fish when I would go fish my local lake (Lake Allatoona). Joining a local tournament trail or Club is what fishing is all about. Within those groups you get to make some great fishing buddies you can call friends and would be there for you if anything ever when wrong on the way to the ramp, on the water, and on the way home. The kind of people that are involved in Tournaments is just awesome. It is amazing all the life lessons I have learned while fishing. I made lots of new Fishing Buddies while fishing the next level up tournament trial as a Co-angler called the Weekend Bass Series which is one level under the Professional Open / Qualifier Tournaments (BASS Opens / FLW Rayovacs).
I clearly understand there is a lot more to learn but having the willingness to learn is a great step in the right direction to where I am wanting to be. I don't even worry if I will zero in a day because the confidence I have in myself and fishing abilities. This doesn't mean I'm the best angler on the water right now but I can guarantee I am one of the most improved anglers these last couple of years.
After sitting down reflecting over the year I see there were many great things that happened to me such as my first ever tournament win on Allatoona, and a directing a successful Fundraiser Tournament for the KSU Fishing Team that had 14 companies Sponsor it and raised $869 for the club. But there were some difficulties as well. Some of these difficulties were self inflicting and learning how to change it by altering the way I look at things.
Ever since I started fishing these Tournaments out of my own 2006 Nitro 482 with a 90hp Mercury Optimax has been the slowest smallest rig within the field of boats. While I should be extremely thankful to even have a boat there were times I got down on myself because of having the smallest slowest rig in the tournament. But as I continue to mature I realize that it is not about having the nicest fastest rig on the water but more about my fishing abilities. Honestly, having a slower rig than everyone else I fish against has caused me to be very precise in my fishing abilities and to be very smart on my decision making. I have to train myself to keep that correct mind set each time I go out there on the water. While you don't need the nicest rig on the water to win a tournament I do understand the advantages a bigger rig has to offer especially traveling to other bigger bodies of water in rough windy conditions.
Also, after following many Professional Anglers and Anglers fishing the Professional Level Open Qualifier Tournaments Like the BASS Opens or FLW Rayovacs it can also be easy to get discouraged. I'll be honest, after a while it is hard to watch all these guys getting Brand New fully rigged 50, 60, even 70 thousand dollar Boats not including their trucks too. But just like I mentioned above, I should be thankful that I even have a great running boat and truck because I know there are people out there that don't have a boat and would do anything to get a boat like mine.
I have worked extremely hard to be in the position that I am in and very thankful to say that both my boat and truck are paid for which includes all my tackle and electronics. I know not having payments is a huge plus especially trying to get through college.
There is a time and season for everything. My time will come when I am ready to get to not only get a bigger boat and truck but fish the bigger level tournaments as well. Until then, it's all about enjoying the ride along the way.
I made great improvements on my understanding how the business side of fishing works. Their are different levels of Sponsorships such as discounted product, limited free product, and when the company pays you X amount of money to wear their name on you boat, truck, and Jersey. It all comes down to how can you help that company. As I fish more and bigger events is when I get more greater opportunities with Sponsorships because I have greater benefits to offer to the companies.
I am looking forward to all that 2015 has in store. This will be the best year yet!! My ultimate goal this upcoming year is letting the LORD direct my paths in ALL areas of my life. He is the only one that can make our paths straight and take us places we didn't even think was possible or capable in doing.
Lastly, I am extremely passionate to be a successful provider to my future wife and family. While seeking money is wrong it is important to manage your finances because if you don't, your finances will manage you.
Just like the greatest Bass Angler in the World Kevin Vandam says:
"Remember, it's all about the attitude."