Fishing Life: Bass Pro John Hunter Talks Tournament Prep and 3 Qualities for Success

This is part of a multi-part series about pro bass angler John Hunter. 

(2 minutes to read)

JB: Talk me through how you prepare for a big tournament. 


JH: I can give you a brief look. For instance, I’m heading to the St. Johns river in Florida for the first Bassmaster Elite Series event. 

When I get there, we get two and a half days of Official Practice where we can fish before the tournament. 28 days prior to Official Practice, we’re not allowed to get on the water, get any information about it, talk to anybody about it, or get any information that’s not public. The water is completely off-limits to us.

For my own preparation, I went down to the St. Johns before the 28 day window started and rode around and checked out the body of water to get familiar with it. Now, when I go back for my two and a half days before the tournament, I’m ready to rock. I’ve got all my gear ready. I’ve done my research. I’ve checked out the tournament history online and talked to people. I know what to do as far as baits. The rest of the game is the regular Florida fishing thing. I’m going to go fish holes in the eelgrass. And most of the fish will be spawning, so it’ll probably be a tournament based around that. 

It’s crazy. You really have to plan ahead when you’re fishing these things full-time. It’s a lot of time in the truck and a lot of traveling, but it’s something you’ve got to do. 

JB: What makes you successful?

JH: I’d say it would be my competitive drive, my commitment, and my focus. 

Competition drives me. I want to win. I don’t want to be beat. And that’s what keeps my fire burning. 

I’m committed to fishing. I grew up doing it and I love it. I’m also committed to the sport, and to being great. I’m committed to my sponsors, and that’s an important thing; I’m committed to making them happy and working my butt off for them.

Focus is big. I’m thinking about fishing all the time. I guess that’s the way it should be. Out on the water, I can go from daylight to dark, and it feels like I blinked and the day is over. I try to have laser focus when I’m getting ready for a tournament. It’s like tunnel vision - all I can see is myself doing well. I keep that in my head.

[Content edited and condensed - Jesse Bastide]

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