The last couple of weeks have been good to me. My partner and I won the Cooper River Open Buddy Tournament — known locally as the Cooper Cup — and I had a Top 10 finish at the Bass Pro Shops Northern Open on Oneida last week. That’s a strong couple of weeks. I’m feeling good.
I’m talking about those things not to brag or toot my own horn but, rather, because it sets the stage for the last two Elite Series events. It’s no secret that I have to do well in both of them if I’m going to go to the Classic at Guntersville next year. And nothing makes for success like success.
You hear all the time that confidence is the key to bass fishing. That’s true, but that’s also simplistic. It’s easy to say “be confident” but it’s not so easy to be that way when things aren’t going your way, and they haven’t always gone my way this year. Some of it is my fault for making bad decisions and not paying enough attention to what was going on around me. Some of it was just the way things happen sometimes.
At the same time that I tell you it’s hard to be confident when things are tough I’ll tell you it’s easy to be confident when things are going well. I said in another column that one of the reasons I was fishing Oneida was to get ready for the St. Lawrence River and for Lake St. Clair. Obviously, that worked out exactly the way I hoped it would.
My idea was to have a good event and try to parlay that into the positive momentum I’ll need. I think I did that. We’ll know for sure later this week and then two weeks after that.
If there’s a lesson in all of this I suppose it’s that if you are having a tough time of it and starting to second-guess every decision you make maybe you should do something to break the negative cycle. One way to do that is to fish somewhere there are plenty of bass that you can catch. I don’t care if it’s a farm pond.
They don’t have to be big fish and it doesn’t have to be a tournament. The idea is to boost your confidence, not win something. I don’t care who you are or at what level you’re fishing, catching fish will make you feel good about yourself and your skills. That’ll make you more productive as an angler. More productivity will lead to even more productivity.
The thing not to do about it is to feel sorry for yourself or blame your equipment. Especially don’t blame other anglers and never, not ever, blame luck. Luck is something you can’t do anything about. If you blame luck, you’re done. If you can’t change things, why even try?
Regardless of all that, I’m where I’m at in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. It’s up to me to do something about it.