Fuel Up, The Right Way


The boat is ready. The rods and tackle are packed and organized. Batteries are charged. Licenses and permits are all on hand. It could be a long 8-10hrs ahead of you on tournament day. You’d better swing in the gas station for a couple energy drinks and candy bars to get you through until you can eat again, right? WRONG!

This is the portion of any fishing trip preparation where 95% of guys tend to drop the ball in a big way. You spend hours scrutinizing all of your rods and tackle, re-spooling, changing hooks, oiling reels, all to make sure nothing fails when you’re on the water and you have every advantage possible when trying to land the “one.” So why not pay as much attention to your most important piece of equipment as you do the rest of your gear?

Fueling your body properly is very important when you are setting out for any adventure and especially a long day on the water for a tournament. Making sure you have the energy to focus and get to work when you get to your first and last spot are big keys to your success. It becomes even more important when you’re a kayak angler because now you are the motor and after you finish up at the last spot of the day, you still have to paddle back to the launch site and you’re going to want to make sure you have the energy to do so. Otherwise it could make for an even longer day.

So how do you go about this? What should you eat for breakfast? What should you take with you? I’ll be the first to tell you that exercise and nutrition are a lifestyle choice. It really needs to become a total behavior change in order to reap the most benefit from proper nutrition but changing your habits on tournament day can drastically improve the way you feel at the end of the day during the drive home.

For now we’ll focus on tournament day. A very quick and easy meal that will stay with you for a good amount of time throughout the morning is eggs and toast. Three to four eggs with a couple pieces of whole wheat toast drizzled with honey will provide you with a good amount of protein and carbohydrates for sustainable energy to get you started on the right foot. As for the rest of the day, you’ll want a good amount of clean protein that will provide that long term energy to stay with you throughout the day as well as a few more carbohydrates for a quick burst to get you ready to make that paddle back to the ramp.

Good sources of protein that are clean and free of a bunch of added sugars and very compact and easy to store on your boat are the single serve drink sticks from Only Protein and Quest Nutrition protein bars. Both products have great flavors and nutrition profiles and are some of the cleanest out there. Only Protein meal replacement sticks have 18g of protein and only 2g of sugar and plenty of vitamins and minerals to make sure you get the nutrients you need. The best part is each serving mixes in as little as 4-6oz of water (which you should have plenty of with you if you are going to be fishing in the hot sun all day). Quest Bars are some of the best protein bars out there with 22-24g of protein per serving and no added sugar.

With these items in your boat, you’re sure to stay alert and focused and avoid fatigue during the day.

If you’re still looking for a little more carbs to help give you a more immediate source of energy before making the long paddle back at the end of the day, here’s an easy to pack energy boost that we use daily:

1-Fit&Active Flatbread Protein Wrap

-Smear it with a natural butter (peanut/almond/cashew)

-Drizzle it with your favorite organic honey

Role it up, put it in a Ziploc bag and store it in a cooler to keep with your water for the day. This makes is so easy to have a clean source of energy with you and one that you can use as a pre-workout meal any day of the week.

Lastly, hydration doesn’t start the day of the tournament or trip. It’s important all day, every day. Eight ounces of water per hour is a good rule of thumb to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the trip. Yes, this will cause frequent bathroom breaks, but they will be fewer and farther between when you’re sweating all day in the heat. And a few more bathroom breaks definitely beat the side-effects of the alternative. Not being able to focus, and heat exhaustion are not fun experiences. Please stay away from the caffeine infused drinks since caffeine is a diuretic, it actually dehydrates you and you will need to drink even more water to get caught back up. For those of you who are looking for more flavor than just plain water, there are a few flavored products out there, but you want to stay away from too much sugar. So if you are looking at this type of drink, be sure it is sweetened with stevia in order to avoid the excess sugar.

This has been an information filled article and a little lengthy but just as you research fishing products and techniques, this is another area that deserves a large part of your attention as well. Remember, your body is your machine, and food is fuel. Keep it clean.

Zach Bailiff

B.S. Exercise Science

Personal Trainer


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