As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to sit down with Rick Garavaglia, one of Feelfree’s pro staff, and member of the Feelfree Competitive Fishing Team. Rick, like most of us, wears many hats. He is a husband, father, pastor and avid angler. Thanks for joining us today Rick! We are excited to hear from you today. Why don’t you start off by sharing with us a little about the high points of your fishing season.
Yeah, thanks. This season has been a good season full of great memories, experiencing new bodies of water, and a lot of challenges that provided opportunities to learn more about kayak fishing for bass. In fact, this season’s theme was all about applying what I’ve learned through my first three seasons competitively fishing kayak bass tournaments and putting new knowledge to use right away.
I worked diligently to evaluate my goals from previous seasons. Some of my original goals were simply no longer attainable due to factors like work responsibilities, family obligations, and even club schedules and format. After the 2021 season I had to remind myself that there are some simple rules I need to use when making realistic goals for anything. I think that the most important rules for me in setting kayak fishing goals is that they must be both achievable and measurable.
Now, you are from West Virginia. We have a few Feelfree Guys in your neck of the woods. You seem to have a lot of tournaments to choose from. What all did you fish this year, Rick?
Honestly, because of family, and other work commitments, this year I chose not to fish the KBF Online Monthly Challenge Series. I just realized that outside of the tournaments that I planned to fish, I had zero chance to make upgrades throughout a month. That means I couldn’t win or even constantly be in the money and ultimately qualify for the KBF Challenge Series Championship. It simply wasn’t achievable with such a limited fishing schedule.. When I sat down and did a spreadsheet of my expenses for 2021,I realized that I spent $200 on entry fees for the Challenge Series, but there was just no way that I was ever going to be in the running for prize money.
I evaluated the Angler Of the Year (AOY) race the last two seasons too. I was in the Top 10 in 2020 and dropped to 20th because I could not fish some of the events. Then in 2021 I was in the Top 10 and again, I couldn’t fish some of the tournaments. So I dropped to 15th. This year I decided that AOY was not an achievable goal. So, I decided to focus on doing my best hoping for a win or two throughout the season. In reality the only change was dropping the AOY goal. I wasn’t even sure that a Top 10 AOY finish was possible.
I like that. So basically you took your previous experience, and also looked at your limitations, right? I think oftentimes I live my life in light of unrealistic expectations. But doing what you did actually allowed you to enjoy the 2022 fishing season. So what goals did you set for yourself coming into 2022?
Well, I set my goals early, and I thought they were more realistic than last year’s goals. I still set them high though. I really had 7 main goals coming into this last spring.
- Represent and promote the companies with which I partner with integrity and consistency throughout the year
- Learn something about our sport as frequently as possible
- Build new relationships in my local area, West Virginia, KBF, and our industry
- Qualify for the new WV State Championship “Best of the Best” Tournament
- Defend the KBF Trail Series Lake Murray win from 2021
- Win at least one WVKA club tournament
- Win at least one KBF Trail Series tournament
Wow! Those are some goals! Didn’t you compete in some different trail events outside of West Virginia too?
Yeah. I went to Kissimmee because I qualified for the TENvitational, but it was a bucket list set of lakes too. I also got to go to Guntersville. Sadly, in 2020 when the dates of the KBF National Championship changed, I couldn’t attend. I was so glad I got to fish that event this year. It was honestly a bucket list event for me.
It was fun hearing about your adventure this spring as you went to Florida. If you missed those blogs, I’ll link them here. Well, Rick, how did you end up doing this season?
I feel good about my season! Here is how I did in each of the events I fished this year.
- 48th in Kissimmee Trail 1
- 78th in Kissimmee Trail 2
- 43rd in TENvitational
- *8th in Lake Murray Trail 1 (10th biggest bass) (Attempt to defend 2021 1st Place)
- 38th in Guntersville Trail 1
WVKA- (Local Club)
- 11th at Stonewall
- 14th at Elk River/Sutton Lake
- 19th at South Branch
- *10th at Jackson County (Club Championship)
- *12th in AOY points
- *6th overall and 3rd for WVKA in WV State Championship “Best of the Best”
WVKA- (Local Online Challenge Series)
- *5th in April Online
- 30th in May Online
- *5th in June Online
- 16th in July Online
- 30th Fishing for Mountain Mission
- *2nd Kickin’ Bass for Troops (*Big Bass Award)
Man, that is a busy season! You did great. As winter begins to set in for you in West Virginia, what are the things that are on your mind?
This is really the time I begin to focus on 2023. Our WVKA tentative schedule was just released. It’s on my calendar, and now the new changes to formatting are already impacting my goals for next season. I’m working on new projects that start over the Winter. I’m targeting the New Year to release more content on YouTube featuring Feelfree, Zpro Lithium, Sixgill Fishing Products, Mountaineer RV and Outdoor Center, and Sublime Wear USA. There are still a lot of things to work through and plan for, but 2023 should be a great year spending time in the FeelFree Lure 13.5!
Written by Rick Garavaglia, Feelfree Competitive Fishing Team Member
Edited by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member