Preparation is Key to Success

NPFL Angler, Hunter Sales gets down to business on the tournament trail.

Contributing NPFL Editor, Hunter Sales | Photos by Tanner & Travis Lyons

In every sport, athletes must prepare for competition like it’s their job because quite frankly, it is! Competitive bass fishing is no different. As the Head Coach of the college bass fishing team at Carson-Newman University, I constantly stress the importance of preparation to our anglers. In a sport where so many variables are beyond our control, it is important to control what is within reach. With the busy life that we all live, it can be a challenge to find time to perform maintenance, pre-practice, research, and stay in tune with your tournament instincts.

After a lackluster 2023 season, it was easy to look at a lost fish here, mechanical failure there, bad boat draws, etc. as the reason for my results (or lack thereof). However, after really diving into what led to a subpar season, I realized that between juggling my work, weeks on the road with the college team, a 9-tournament touring schedule, and various other fishing events, I hadn’t given myself the best opportunity to succeed. Today’s competitive anglers are looking for every advantage possible and if you’re not laser-focused on the next event, it’s easy to get left behind.

Heading into 2024, I felt fortunate to have the support of so many great companies, some old and most new. (Saltex, Thompson Truck Group, Visit Jefferson County, TN, Skeeter Boats, Morristown Marine, Short Mountain Silica + Trucking, National Kennel Club, Seaguar, Hayabusa, and Blue Marlin Real Estate) I was determined to heed my advice and prepare for every event in 2024 with the same focus that I asked my anglers to prepare with. This also played a major factor in my decision to switch from the Bassmaster Opens EQs to the NPFL. Having 6 events compared to 9 allowed me the time to focus more on each event instead of constantly running from event to event.

Sitting 2 events into the 2024 season, I’m currently 4th in the NPFL AOY race and my belief that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” is stronger than ever. God has a master plan that is often outside of our control, but I feel that we are called to do our part to prepare for competition in every aspect of our lives as well. Who knows what the rest of the season could hold for me, but my mentality will stay the same. With so many fisheries left on the schedule that I have no serious history with, my preparation will be even more important.

I love to pre-practice and find high-percentage areas I can revisit during official practice just as much as I enjoy spending hours scrolling through Google Earth, historical tournament results, etc. I find peace in knowing that I did all I could to control the things I could. The rest is in God’s hands! Here’s to tightening our bolts and keeping the roads hot for the rest of the 2024 NPFL Season! 

– Hunter Sales
@huntersalesfishing on all social media platforms