Avoiding Burnout in Bass Fishing by Pete Robbins, Page 2

Avoiding Burnout in Bass Fishing by Pete Robbins, Page 2


A conversation

meaningful to you, and you

with Kevin VanDam

don’t get to fish as much as

a few years back put

you’d like, stepping away

it into perspective for

may seem like stepping

me. I asked him how

back. So, if you have to be

he stayed fresh after

doing something productive,

so many years on tour,

take this time to get all of

so many thousands

your stuff in order.

of hours on the road,

Reorganize all of your

visiting the same places

tackle, replace every subpar

again and again. He

treble hook, respool all of

replied that he was

your reels, wax your boat.

on the road 270 days

That’s time-consuming

a year, the majority of

and productive, yet it’s also

them for appearances,

kind of mindless. It’ll allow

photo shoots and the

you to press the refresh

like, rather than actual



“By the time I get to

What about the

go fishing,” he said, “I can’t

burnout cases who don’t

wait to get out on the water.”

Photo: Steve Kennedy

realize they’re burnout cases?

Therein lies the

They’re typically

key. All of us fish better

the anglers who fish

when we’re really amped

the same waters every day off from work, often the

to be out there, rather than when we’re going through

same sections of those waters, using the same seasonal

the motions or on the water out of obligation. Look at


Steve Kennedy, for example – the conventional wisdom is

that sun-up to sun-down practice is non-negotiable, yet

Take a good look at yourself. Is that you?

Kennedy often doesn’t launch the boat until mid-morning.

If so, if you’re still enjoying every moment of it and

His rationale is that practicing smart is often better than

your results are improving, then you may not have an issue,

practicing long. Not only does it keep him fresh and excited

but if you’re dissatisfied with how things are going, you’re

for tournament day, and focused on the ultimate goal of

a victim of stealth burnout. Take action before you get so

winning, but it also plays a monumental mind trick on

frustrated that you break something or get tired of the

the other anglers. Imagine getting beaten consistently by

sport altogether.

someone whose cover is still on the unlaunched boat every

My solution was to spend more time fishing for species

time you pass by the campground.

other than bass. Fishing for trout and salmon in Alaska

The first step of curing burnout is recognizing burnout.

helped me better understand the importance of current.

If you’re going through the motions again and again, with

Fishing for tuna in Panama gave me new appreciation

no meaningful change in results, and that’s pissing you off,

for high-end spinning gear. Fishing for redfish in Venice,

then you, my friend, are a

victim. Louisiana helped me understand what regular bass tackle

It’s time to fix it.

is capable of doing. I believe that

One solution, which

I’m now a better bass

may seem counterintuitive,

fisherman despite

is to spend some time

spending fewer

away from the water. As

days chasing them,

noted above, when you’re

expressly because

jumping out of your seat

of my multi-species

to get back out, that’s


when you’ll likely fish your

Perhaps you don’t


have the budgetary or

It’s counterintuitive

geographical flexibility

because if your results

to try to catch other

are stagnant most of us

species (I doubt that

assume that the only

– there are catfish

way to get through that

and crappie just about

brick wall is to attack in

everywhere – but let’s

head on. If performing better in your future tournaments is

Photo: Pete Robbins/Yamamoto Inside Line

assume it’s true). How do you fish through your

Spring 2022

page 55