The Struggle Is Real
There are times in the game of tournament bass fishing where you feel like you’re on top of the world. You get to that point where you’re pretty consistent and can pretty much call your shots. It’s a pretty good feeling overall. There’s a lot of confidence that helps you out leading to one good day after another. Sometimes the struggle is real though. Tournament bass fishing is a true roller coaster at times. There’s a lot that goes into it, and mindset/mind frame is one of those key ingredients.
You have to take into account the outside factors which affect your game on the water. Before we go into that, I want to cover the thought processes that go into each day on the water, whether it be during a tournament or giving your friends and family an enjoyable time out fishing.
To be successful on the water you really need to have a clear head.
What I mean by that, is you cannot be worried about those outside influencers while you’re trying to outwit the movement of fish. Think about it. You are trying to anticipate the habits and movement of a wild animal that you usually cannot see until you catch them. Sometimes things work out and you see them schooling right next to you, but this is not something you can always rely on so I chalk those days up to the value of being in the right place at the right time.
You have to read the weather and anticipate what the fish will be doing based on what conditions arise.
In order to anticipate the movement of the fish, you truly require a clear head. That means you really must find a way to relax during your time on the water, and honestly before it. Once you’re out there, you can have a generic idea of what the fish should be doing given the time of year and type of water you’re fishing. That’s excellent to know, but it’s merely a start. Just because it’s summertime, it does not automatically mean the fish will be deep. It’s likely they will be, but other factors will come into play. One of them is the weather – and weather is everything in Florida specifically. You have to read the weather and anticipate what the fish will be doing based on what conditions arise.
That is why it is so imperative to have a clear head whenever you’re out on the water. Just like any processor – your phone, your computer, your ECU, etc… – your brain only has so much processing power to consume and act on information you’re presented. You cannot fill it with non-essential information for the time of the day and expect to be able to process the information being provided. So, what does that mean?
This spring for me was specifically good. I had a couple of lower finishing tournaments, but overall I was able to put together a lot of required information to have some really good days on the water. The biggest contribution to those good days was a clear head. The more relaxed I found myself, the better my results. In team tournaments it’s really the same show as well. What I mean by that is whomever you choose as your team partner, you need to ensure one that you fish well together, and two you’re not competing with each other for styles of fishing.
However, if you let the suck keep you down it will turn into quicksand and crush your season.
I had one partner last year, who is a really good angler and we have had some really good team tournaments together. However, our styles of fishing are so polar opposite that we end up clashing on tough days and at the end of the day neither of us were able to objectively find that piece of mind to make the right sound decisions. So, unless it turned out our patterns from practice really came together, we would tank. Two of my teammates this year both are good anglers and our styles of fishing correlate very well together. What that means is we are able to relax and not compete for patterns on a tough day, but come to a similar conclusion and focus on the task at hand. Is that the silver bullet for always succeeding? Absolutely not, some days you simply suck. It’s a fact. Look at any Elite Series or Tour Level angler out there. Sometimes they simply suck. It’s ok. However, if you let the suck keep you down it will turn into quicksand and crush your season.
Two examples of this come from this year on the Kissimmee Chain of lakes for me. The Coast Guard Military Bass Tournament in March was the first. I went into that tournament with a lot of expectations, only to struggle the first day. The second day was much less of a struggle because those expectations were gone, and for day three we were able to put together a solid limit that took us from 40th to 17th simply because all expectations were out the window and we simply just went fishing. A similar case took place during the 2018 Florida Bass Cat Owners Event. Day one was a wash, but day two we put together a respectable 20+ pound bag. Why? Expectations management.
So what lesson can you take away from this if you’re in a down trend during your events?
- First, RELAX – You’re going fishing, and unless you’re crazy you love it so enjoy it!
- Second, remove those negative outside influences the night before you get on the water. They don’t help and you can’t do anything about them while you’re on the water anyways.
- Third, find what you need to simply ease your mind. Just like the 1992 En Vogue song suggests, “Ease Your Mind; And the Rest Will Follow.” – It’s more than just a catchy classic tune.