The 2010 Bassmaster Classic is history. There are some lessons from it that we, as bass anglers, can learn and that'll help us in the future.
The first thing is, never give up. No matter how tough things get, you can't give up, regardless of whether you're fishing for fun on your day off work or if you're in the biggest tournament of your life.
I said in some of my other postings that my biggest problem last week was developing a reliable and consistent pattern, or at least finding a spot to fish regularly. It didn't happen. Nevertheless, I was able to put some weight together by hunting and pecking around the lake all day.
That approach wasn't enough to win. It was, however, enough to stay in the hunt for three days. With a break or two I might have pushed the top guys on the final day. My point is that no matter what's going on, you have to stay positive and focus on the task at hand. Do that and, in the end, you'll have some success.
That's the attitude I'm going to take into the 2010 Elites Series season. Instead of worrying about my mediocre performance in California the last time we were there, I'm going to view it as an opportunity at redemption. It's my chance to show that I can fish on the West Coast.
Even if I don't develop the patterns and spots I hope to out there I'll keep plugging away, confident in the knowledge that, in the end, I'll be able to do something positive even if it isn't all that I want to do.
Another thing that can be a problem is this idea of consistency. It's fine to be consistent, but you also have to win. Other anglers have said, rightly, that anytime you put yourself in a position to win you also put yourself in a position to lose. That's true.
Sometimes you just have to take a chance. Carrying five little bass across the stage isn't what this sport is about. I don't criticize those who do that, but it's not my style. I'll take my whippings so long as I can have a few wins mixed in with them.
That's basically what I tried to do during the Classic. Even though I was struggling to find fish, I didn't see the point of catching limits of little ones. Sometimes it's better to take your chances.
I realize it might be easier for anglers to say these things when they've had some success. At the same time, though, if you don't follow them you're not likely to ever have much success. Sometimes you just have to believe and be willing to take a chance.