If anyone is new to this series, please go read my first article before this one. It will explain what I am trying to teach, and who I am targeting.
Time for some more of my opinions as to what a new guy on a high school team should try to do. I hope it helps anyone who needs it.

4. Research
You have a ton of free time compared to adults when you are a teenager. Don’t waste that time at parties getting drunk and making stupid decisions. If you want a career in bass fishing or just want to excel in your current team, it’s not going to help you to waste your time on short term fun. Instead, look up videos, there is always more to learn. Find a technique that you did not understand and learn about it. Practice how to rig it, what to look for when fishing it and everything you can find about it. Take a few hours or even more to figure these things out. Then if you are fortunate enough to have a boat or a ride to a nearby body of water, go out and practice what you learned. Don’t listen to Karl Von Dibble’s MTB commercials. You can become a much better fisherman by watching internet videos. Just don’t start clicking on the cat videos half way through. Research is very important to learning about our sport. Take the time to figure out everything you can. In a few years you wont have that time. I took that advice from many youtube and professional anglers. It has definitely taught me a lot about techniques I would be in the dark about otherwise. On the water experience is also research. Get out fishing and try to learn something new, fish a new spot or bait. Just try some more things you usually would shy away from. It will pay off. If you have a boat and know the body of water you are on, look for structure that is obvious to you, and learn what it looks like on your units. This will save you a ton of frustration of figuring them out especially if you have been struggling with them. It all about more experience, and research is the best way to get it.

5. Use What You Find
You did the research, now use it in a tournament or any outing. This is something I struggle with from time to time. I will see a wind moving towards a bank, that usually moves plankton and shad will follow…so throw a shad bait. If you see a point on a river, throw across it so the fish sitting on the sides can ambush it. Its simple things like that which make our days on the water. You learned about all the things you need to do, now put the to the test and use what is between your ears to find the fish and put them in the boat. If you knew what was going on in a tournament and lost because you didn’t connect the dots, then it’s your fault. And believe me, it’s the worst feeling in the world. So take the time to learn, but also take the time to think about what you are fishing. Soon it will become instinct and you will pick it out from all the rest. Just remember to use your head.

6. The Staircase
This is a very important thing to note. As in hardcore exercise there is a level of hard work that you need to put in. However once that work becomes easy, you have to add more weight, do more reps, of push yourself even longer. Same goes with fishing. Imagine a staircase…start at the bottom. You have already passed this by becoming a high school angler and fighting through many of the beginning parts of fishing. You could be 4 steps up or more, but the number of steps don’t matter. Its the shape of the staircase. When it flat lines, it immediately goes up at 90 degrees. To put this in the perspective of fishing, when you get into a new high school series, you are looking at a high climb. As you begin to gain experience through the time you are there, then you begin to reach the end. Soon enough you will be winning tournaments and placing consistently. If high school is the only fishing you want, then stick with it. If you see a life ahead of you with it then that means it is time to step up. You at this point will be on the flat part of the stair and need to get higher. Otherwise you will stay at a flat level and never learn more. You need to better yourself so that you can continue to grow as an angler. Yes, that does mean that you will face another 90 degree climb. But, as you did in the previous one, you will get over it and soon will be on top of that stair. Its always a challenge, but through each step you learn more about fishing and how to understand every situation you get. Also, don’t skip steps because, you will find yourself facing an impossible feat that has guys several times more skilled than you are. Level up at the rate you can, not the rate you want to. Here’s an example, I wouldn’t try to fish a Bassmaster Open or College level tournament. Those AAA and College tournaments are full of guys who learned things I have not yet. And believe me, where they are is not the place to learn the basics. Do not skip stairs, it will hurt you tremendously and you will lose a ton of money. Climb the staircase one step at a time and you will be successful at climbing the ranks of bass fishing tournaments. Pretty soon you will find yourself at the Classic, or the Forrest Wood Cup (I think that’s the name….sorry FLW fans I’m a Bassmaster guy) Make sure to challenge yourself appropriately, but don’t sit on your behind telling yourself you will get better. Make it happen.