Following that week of rest, Monroe began another five-event marathon that will take him from Arkansas to Tennessee to Washington, D.C. Following that, the Yamaha Pro will represent Yamaha at a collegiate fishing tournament at Lake Lewisville in Texas, then fly home to California where he will have nearly two weeks before competition begins again.
"I start planning for the new season right after the final tournament of the year," continues Monroe, who won the fourth Bassmaster® event of his career earlier this year during that first five- tournament swing. Even when he "hit the wall" in that fifth tournament he still managed an 11th place finish.
"It takes a lot of time just to plan my entire travel schedule between the events. Then I order all the new tackle I think I'll need, and when it arrives, I spend a couple of more weeks just packing it and making certain I do have everything I need."
While Monroe is doing all that, he also spends as much time as possible in the gymnasium keeping his body in condition for those hundreds of hours on the water. Not only does he perform muscle strengthening exercises but also cardiovascular routines that build his endurance. So far, he's been able to avoid the arm and back injuries that have plagued a number of others in professional fishing.
"When you compete continually the way I do," he continues, "you really can't do much actual planning for how you're going to fish each lake itself. Instead, you fish 'for the moment' and approach each day individually. For instance, I completely mis-judged the dominant pattern on the St. John's River, the first Bassmaster® Elite tournament of the season. I thought the fish would already be in post-spawn, so I went there determined to find post-spawn bass, and I finished 96th, almost dead last, because it turned out to be a sight-fishing event for bass that were still spawning.
"The next week, I won at Lake Okeechobee primarily because I let the bass themselves show me how to fish. Sometimes it's a hard lesson to learn, but I know I can't go to any of these lakes with pre-conceived ideas of how I'm going to fish, because the lakes are so different. One week I'll be fishing a shallow lake with heavy vegetation and the next I'll be finesse fishing clear, deep water."
Monroe drives between 25,000 and 30,000 miles per year to the different events. When he does have one or two weeks off between the tournaments, he either stays with friends or leaves his truck and boat at a selected location and flies back to California.
The weeks off aren't always that relaxing, either. The Yamaha Pro spends much of the time giving media interviews, making personal appearances for sponsors, and checking on the progress of his new line of signature lures. And of course, there's always vehicle and tackle maintenance to be performed.
"Even with all of that," Monroe smiles again, "after just a few days I'm absolutely ready to go fishing again. I'm not really that tough. I just love to fish."