Kickers Don’t Care About Your Likes

As Ohio lakes start to become fishable for the 2017 season due to a very warm winter, I’m sure everyone is getting their boats ready or have already been out on the water! Due to living a little far North and not being able to fish year round without a solid drive at hand, I definitely get anxious to start the Mercury up and go to work as I’m sure you all do too! However, there is and will always be time we cannot be on the water getting better and I personally believe you can fall into a very unnoticeable trap during these times and that’s where I would like to share my advice and take on things in this article.

At a very young age when all I knew for sure was that I wanted to tournament fish and be the best I could possibly be, there was one piece of advice I was missing that I wish I could of been told then. To the young anglers, beginners, and even the hammers, I have found that individually as an angler you can become so wrapped up in the media and trying to be cooler than him or her that you lose track of becoming a better angler. I’ve been through the phase personally so here is my take. While I was a kid and teenager, I honestly regret the time I spent working on sponsor relations, making videos, taking pictures, making a jersey, you name it. When we are new or young in this sport, all we want to be is the best. Unfortunately, my younger self like many others, think to become the best you have to LOOK like Gerald Swindle. The problem is Gerald Swindle didn’t become one of the best because he is literally a walking billboard. He became one of the best due to the hard work and dedication he has spent just flat out competing and catching fish better than anyone else can.

The 2016 season I had was incredible for myself and a breaking out season to say! With multiple top 5s and 10s across the nation on fisheries I had never been to before, I can only accredit that success to one major change in my take on becoming the best. That take was to leave the GoPro at home, not post every cast to social media, not care if I was as famous as him or her, not care if that boat might be faster, not care if that competitor won this or that, I only cared about competing and making sure I became better each cast. By all means, I’m not saying drop your sponsors and delete all forms of social media, because that is what makes individualism in our sport which is why it’s so unique. All I am saying is to never let that get in front of you when you hit the water.

As we all grow in this sport and become better, treat the media aspect of tournament fishing like you would hauling a boat with your tow vehicle. If your hard work and dedication is your truck and the desired fame and sponsors are your boat, the only way you can get from point A to B is by keeping the boat behind you and letting the truck do the work. Feel free to run the grill of your truck into your outboard and push it down the road, but just like putting the media aspect in front of the hard work, it’s not going to look pretty!

Thanks to all for your time,
-Kyle Waller