Competitive fishing can be very stressful. Trying to be successful in tournaments can sometimes take the joy out of fishing if you let it. After a couple of disappointing tournaments back in May, I was struggling to keep a positive attitude. I fell 50 places in the point standings, and I was as frustrated as I have ever been. I thought about taking a break from fishing during the month between tournaments. After further consideration, I knew that I would think about those bad tournaments constantly if I had a lot of down time. So what did I do? I stayed on the lake as much as possible.
After the Alabama River Charge, I decided to go to a lake where I knew I could catch a lot of bass and have fun. I fished Douglas Lake for weeks, and absolutely whacked them. I averaged over 20 lbs every trip, whether I was guiding or just out fun fishing with buddies. It’s amazing what several good days on the water did to my confidence. After 3 weeks of having fun and catching big fish, I had nearly forgotten about those horrible tournaments.
Going into the Mississippi River Rumble, my mindset was right where it needed to be. I approached every day up there as I had on Douglas, and that was to have fun and catch as many fish as possible. I had a blast and did not stress the whole week, and it worked in my favor. I had this calm over me, and knew I was going to catch them.
It’s easier said than done, but I am going to try to keep that same mentality the rest of the season. We have two more regular season events this year, and I think it will be easy to have fun. St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Clair are two of the best fisheries in the country that are loaded with big smallmouth. We should all catch a lot of fish and finish the year with a bang.
If you have a bad tournament, do what I did, and take some time to just go fishing. No stress, just the simplicity of having fun on the water. I bet it will help clear your head and get you ready for the next tournament. Just like so many things in life, confidence is key in fishing. When you believe in yourself, things always work out better.
Dare to fail.