The only thing we can really rely on in life is that there will be changes that need to be made, and if we expect to be successful and thrive we’d better make them. That’s true in every part of every life.

The changes I need to make in 2019 have nothing to do with those affecting the industry as a whole. I’m going to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series, and I’m going to do everything in my power to change last year’s performance. It was the absolute worst year in my career, and I’m talking about all the way back to the beginning.

There were two things that caused it. The first was physical. I had a bad wrist that needed injections from time to time and then, later in the year, I separated my shoulder. You can’t go to the top when you hurt physically.

The second issue was in my head. I got away from fishing my strengths and tried to compete by doing what I thought I should be doing instead of sticking with what I knew I could do. You can’t go to the top that way, either.

As far as my health is concerned it’s in pretty good shape and getting better. I’ve started spending four days a week in the gym working out. I’m doing rehab as well as strength and endurance conditioning. Along with the workouts, I’m eating better and paying more attention to my overall lifestyle.

I played athletics in college and continue to do that. But I never really connected that with bass fishing. That’s going to change next year. Actually, it’s already changed. I learned the hard way that this is a sport that has to be treated just like any other sport when it comes to physical conditioning and your health. It’s a matter of getting back to the athlete’s mentality.

Believe it or not, though, that might be the easier of the two changes I’m making because when I get out of the gym I have to think about how I’m going to fish next year and what I need to leave behind.

It sounds easy enough. Just make a decision to do what you do best.

The reality, though, is different. You hear what some of the other guys are saying, and you look at the current conditions. You start to doubt yourself and the first thing you know you’re tying on a bait that you think might be the right one, but it’s also the one you don’t really have a lot of confidence in when you toss it out there. And so, you don’t catch ‘em. You realize, too late, that you made a poor decision. You should have stayed in your own lane.

One thing I’m doing that’ll help me stay in my lane is that I’m not going to take as much tackle with me as I usually do. I’ve gone so far as to measure the inside of my truck and then divide it into sections. Each section will handle one bait or type of bait. I can only carry so many groups and so many individual baits within each of those groups. If you don’t have it, you can’t fish with it. It’s the old theory of KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

That’s enough about me and what I’m doing. Next time, we’ll make a change to this column — I’ll try to post something that’ll help you catch more bass.