PAA pro Ish Monroe’s off-season activities include physical and mental preparation plus tackle prep for next year.
Story by Russ “Bassdozer” Comeau
Ish explains, “Tackle-wise, I go through every single box I own, take counts and make sure that all the boxes are full. From Missile Baits D Bombs to Snag Proof frogs, I make sure that I have plenty of everything, so I don’t have to go run to a tackle shop or try to hunt down something I need during the season. My off-season prep let’s me fish straight through next year with what I’ve got.”
He goes through every piece of tackle he has, eliminating stuff he’s not going to use any more, changing colors, adding new products he thinks are going to work next year. He says, “I try to line up my tournaments by which way I want to fish them. Like for sight-fishing, I make a sight-fishing box. If I’m going to be in an event where I expect to rely on frogs, I will have my clear water frog boxes versus my dirty water frog boxes and so on…just making sure I have a little bit of everything organized and ready to go for all of next year’s events.”
Surprisingly, Ish doesn’t label his boxes nor does he need to. Monroe goes through all his tackle so extensively that by the time next season starts, he will know exactly what he has where. “I could tell you exactly where my Tomahawk worms or where my Fuse worms are going to be when I need them,” he says without a doubt. Certain boxes hold his “go to” baits that will stay in his boat all the time. “My Missile Baits D Bombs, my Snag Proof frog boxes, my River2Sea Biggie crankbaits and Bling spinnerbaits plus my topwater box will stay on my boat throughout the year. Those boxes never change because those are my confidence baits that I go into tournaments trying to use; if I am catching fish on those baits, I am going to be better off,” believes Monroe.
What that means is Ish does not overload his boat – keeping it down to his essentials. Of course he keeps a large back-up storage of boxes in his truck too. It’s all very modular and organized so he can pull a box or two from his truck for what he’s planning to do any given day.
Extensive off-season tackle organization is usually nothing new to Monroe. He has it all planned out and down to a routine he’s followed for years now.
What will make Monroe’s tackle prep a little more challenging this time is that he’s fishing both the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Elites in 2013 – with two different wrapped boats. Ish has a driver who will be driving his second boat for him to the FLW events, and Monroe will be driving the other boat to the Elite events.
In terms of tackle, he’ll be equipping both boats identically with the same boxes of stuff he uses on a regular basis duplicated on those boats.
A few years ago,Monroe had fished both tours before they got into schedule conflicts. He did it out of one boat then, but he’s looking forward to using two boats in 2013 because he’ll earn additional income from having two wraps.
In 2013, Monroe will be fishing 9 events on the Bassmaster side (including the Classic) plus 6 more on the FLW side (hopefully 7 if he makes the Forrest Wood Cup), and in between those 16 events, he’ll be fishing PAA events, some Bassmaster Opens and FLW Everstarts.
With so many events ahead of him, getting his tackle organized is even more important than ever this winter, as is getting physically fit and mentally fit for his very challenging 2013 schedule
Every year during the off-season, Monroe spends a lot of his time in the gym, 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week primarily to strengthen his back and to build his arm muscles. He feels those are the areas that a professional angler needs to be concerned about most.
“Fishing’s a lot of standing up, sitting down and those rough water rides take a heavy toll on your back,” says Ish. “So the more muscle you build back there, the more cushioning you have in your back, the stronger your back’s going to be for taking those waves whether on plane or standing on the trolling motor. The other thing is casting, pitching, and flipping takes a lot out of your arms and especially since the FLW Tour allows the Alabama Rig, that’s not an easy rig to throw all day.”
The knees are another area of concern to Ish. To help build up strength in his knees, he spends a lot of time on the treadmill, trying to run 20 miles a week on the treadmill.
Working out not only helps Monroe get into prime condition to help prevent the back aches, arm pains, and wear and tear on the knees; exercise also helps him to shed the excess weight from the pounds he’s piled on during the course of a year spent eating way too much junk food on the road.
“I will shed 25-30 pounds at the gym before the 2013 tournament season opens,” admits Monroe. “That’s what I do roughly every year, and I will put that 25-30 pounds back on during the course of the season by not working out and by spending a lot of time eating junk. Fast food restaurants become our friends when we are on the road. It’s a lot harder to try to eat decent while you’re on the road because you’re trying to get something to eat quickly so you can get your tackle ready for tomorrow, and go to bed early. I do try to have a lot of salads and spend much time at Subway’s, but you’re also going out to dinner a lot with friends or VIPs and maybe having a beer at the end of an event before moving on to the next one, and things like that put that weight right back on you. By the time I get back home for the off-season (the town I live in is Hughson, near Modesto, California), I’m really looking forward to eating a lot healthier, shedding those pounds, spending a lot of time working out, resting up and getting my tackle ready to fish straight through next year.”