I’ve always been a believer that timing is the key factor that can make or break an opportunity – or possibly an entire career. Whether on the water, in your personal life or in business, recognizing a window of opportunity and knowing when it’s time to play your hand, in my opinion, is paramount to success.
Over the years I feel I’ve learned how to take advantage of good timing and recognize good opportunities as they arise, which is why I was very excited to learn of my acceptance into the 2019 FLW Tour.
Though some people know me as a television personality through my role as co-host on Sweetwater TV, my true passion is tournament fishing. If you’ve been reading this column for any amount of time, you know this to be true, and like any aspiring professional tournament angler, I’ve been working toward the goal of being a tour-level angler since my first tournament when I was 12.
Although I love fishing at any level, recent years have had me really looking for the right opportunity to move up from the “semi-pro” rank, and with the unprecedented shakeup the sport has experienced with the introduction of the MLF Bass Pro Tour and the migration of pro’s from one tour to another, I knew the time was right to make my move.
I’ve enjoyed years of fishing College, BFL and Costa events with FLW, and with some great synergy between some of the Tour’s sponsors and my own, and an absolutely killer schedule, I was very excited when I finally saw my name on the roster.
Since getting word that I'll be fishing the Tour in 2019, I've had a lot of people ask me how I feel about my chances of doing well. The short answer that I give is that I feel great about my chances of having a successful rookie season, because I wouldn’t have taken this giant leap of faith without being supremely confident.
In truth, I feel pretty at ease about the whole idea of fishing at this next level, and that's probably due to my belief that I've done nothing but train for the Tour all these years.
If you look at the list of tournaments I've fished, you'll find that I rarely fish the same place twice, and have seen success in pretty much every region of the country. Sure, I've never been the guy who dominates on any one lake or region, but because I’m always putting myself on lakes that are outside my comfort zone, I'm able to be proficient almost anywhere.
This nomadic approach to my tournament fishing is something I take great pride in, and I feel it will prove to be the right approach for long-term success on Tour. On that note, if you were to ask me which lake I’m looking forward to the most, I really don’t think I could answer that because I feel like I’m looking forward to each of them equally. I can say, however, that it will be nice to sleep in my own bed during the Lake Chickamauga event.
I’ve been a big proponent of goal-setting over the years. The simple act of taking time to think about my goals and writing them down has been a huge help to me, because it serves as a visual reminder of the incremental, day-to-day actions I need to take in order to give myself the best shot of accomplishing those goals. In essence, it helps hold me accountable.
Going into 2019, I have the obvious goals that we all share – ROY, AOY, winning an event, winning the Cup – but those accolades will come from performing well, so the goals I have written down are all performance-based.
Things like eating well, being ultraefficient during our shorter practice periods and making sure my equipment is in superior order are my primary focuses. Also, I'm putting emphasis on fishing my core strengths whenever possible.
All in all, I don’t want to focus on the results, but rather the process that leads to the results. I feel that approach is going to help me remain focused on the task at hand and keep me grounded through inevitable ups and downs of the season.
That being said, “Rookie Of The Year” has a pretty good ring to it!
With the first event slated for Sam Rayburn the second week of January, the FLW Tour is off to a fast start. Though that has posed some challenges in terms of getting my sponsor list finalized, getting a jersey made and securing a boat and truck wrap, I’m excited to get the season started.
Though I'm not feeling too much pressure going into my rookie season, I'm fully aware of the magnitude of the opportunity that I have before me and hope to take advantage of it as much as possible. All I can do is do what I feel I was born to do – keep an eye out for those windows of opportunity and enjoy the process.
Thank you all for your support over the years. I look forward to continuing to share my story from the FLW Tour.
(Miles "Sonar" Burghoff is the co-host of the TV series "Sweetwater." To visit his website, click here. You can also visit him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (SonarFishing) and Instagram (@sonarfishing).