You might not be able to tell it from the standings, but I had a fun day today. I'm in 64th place with 9 pounds, 9 ounces, but I enjoyed my day and fished the areas I thought I needed to in order to catch some quality fish and put myself in contention to win here at Wheeler Lake.
As you can imagine, since I only brought five small bass to the scales, my day wasn't without a few disappointments. For starters, I found another boat in the area I wanted to start. I thought I'd have it all to myself, but that didn't happen. To make things a little worse, he caught 10 to 15 keepers off the spot before leaving. Those bass could have helped me, but that's just the way it goes.
Sometimes when you're fishing at this level, the lakes get pretty small. All of the competitors are good fishermen who know their stuff. If you find a good spot, you can just about bet that someone else found it, too — maybe several someone elses.
So, I'm in 64th place with little or no chance to get back in the hunt to win this tournament. It's time to reassess my goals. I think that's something that every competitive angler needs to day whether he's fishing multi-day events or a string of one-day tournaments. Sometimes you'll even need to reassess your situation in the middle of a competition day. It depends on the circumstances.
Since I no longer feel that I have a realistic chance of winning, I'll change my goal to simply qualifying to fish on Saturday and earning a $10,000 check. That money is significant, and it presents a goal that I can achieve if I adjust my strategy and attitude. These adjustments are critical in this business. If you don't or can't make them, the sport can consume you.
It's important to realize I'm not talking about giving up when I say "reassess." Instead, I'm talking about redefining victory in such a way that you can find a way to succeed and give yourself a realistic and valuable goal.
If you put yourself in a position where you cannot "win" anything, there's really no reason to even go out there. You're already beaten.
Ultimately, I need to go out there tomorrow and do three things:
- Stay focused.
- Be positive.
- Have fun.
Nothing can stop me from doing those things except me.
I refuse to let that happen.