(Editor's note: "Catching Bass with Dustin Wilks" airs four times per week on the World Fishing Network – 6:30 p.m. ET Monday, 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The six-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier provides BassFans with tips about various aspects of bass fishing in these weekly submissions.)
Don’t make this mistake.
I took a trip many years ago to Canada. My buddy was so pumped that he lived on beef jerky and didn’t take the time to drink enough while fishing seven days straight. Well, things slowed down for him and he couldn't “go," if you know what I mean.
We went to the local grocery store, which was very small and in the middle of the sticks. He went in looking for something to help him out. The lady in the store asked him if he needed help finding anything after he had been roaming a while. Embarrassed, he said, “Yeah, where’s the toothpaste?”
We laughed all the way home – all 15 hours back to North Carolina.
Think about this: Fishing is tough, you're concentrating on every cast, then it's 3 o'clock and you're weighing in. You didn’t eat anything all day, barely took a drink of water. You stop and eat some fast food on the way back to prep your tackle for the next day.
You realize you feel terrible, wake up the next morning stiff with your casting arm and back hurting. You launch for the next day and you are in trouble mentally and physically.
If you're fishing a one-day event with no practice, you can get away with it, but more than a day, it will affect your performance.
Early on, I would fish 12- to 15-hour practice days and take two peanut butter sandwiches, water and maybe a Gatorade, and almost nothing for tournament days.
I would be sore and I hurt all the time. Fishing for six days in a row, then a day off and on to the next tournament. I’d come home and it would take a long time to recover.
As I got older and a little bit wiser, I realized I wasn’t eating enough. When I hit about age 30, I began eating or drinking something about every two hours at least, and as fast as I could, often while running to a new spot.
You don’t have to sit down to a 30-minute picnic, but eating enough during competition can really be beneficial to your performance.
I’m not going to get all scientific on you or anything, but fishing more than one day is a marathon. If you're fishing a two-day or a weeklong event or just out for a day of fun, don’t neglect eating and drinking – a lot.
A lot of people really get into the science of it, which is cool and a worthy endeavor. I think about the time it takes to eat something and the benefit.
I really like the little nutritional drinks like Ensure. Young guys – don’t ask for toothpaste at the grocery store.
You can chug those fast and they have nutritional value and lots of calories for their size, which is what you want.
A couple of sandwiches, protein bars, nabs, fruit and literally anything to help you keep up with the calories you are burning will help you the next day. And always stay hydrated, no matter the weather.