And I thought last year started tough

Last week I said something like my tournament performance on Seminole was horrible. A couple of weeks before that I said pretty much the same thing about my 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro showing, or maybe I should say lack of showing.

I was right when I said those things. Apparently, however, I didn’t get enough of it so I tried for a repeat on the St. Johns. My efforts were not wasted. I managed to do exactly what I had done in the two previous 2014 tournaments — little of nothing.

This is the worst start in my professional career, and after last year that’s saying something. I’m not a happy man but I am not throwing in the towel, either. The damage I’ve done can be fixed. I’m in a hole right now but it’s not so deep I can’t dig my way out. All I need is two or three Top 12 finishes and I’m right back in it. It’s mostly a matter of mental attitude.

Over the years, I’ve watched other anglers get into the fix I’m in. It seems to me that most of us fall into one of three groups when it happens.  

There are a few guys around who don’t seem to let something like this bother them. They don’t care. Or, if they do, they cover it up really well. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to them. They just go out and keep fishing, never mind. Interestingly, some of the guys who fall into this group have a pretty good stick. It’s not like they can’t catch them or that they don’t have good careers going.

I can’t say I’m in that group.

There’s another group that lets something like this kind of start destroy their whole season. They hang their heads, cry woe is me and write off any chance of performing well further down the line. That’s a defeatist mentality. They give up whatever chance they have of making things better. A lot of these guys struggle. You can’t let a slow start put you down for the whole year.

I can’t say I’m in that group, either.

The third group views a sorry performance as a learning experience. They try to get something out of it that will help them somewhere in the future. They may, or may not, whack out after a terrible event but they don’t let it get under their skin for any length of time. They find a way to put it behind them, but without falling into the first group.

I can say I’m in that group.

I honestly think the third group is the most productive. At least, it’s the most productive for me. I can’t ignore a bad tournament. It’s not in me. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. At the same time, though, I refuse to let it destroy my whole season. You can’t build a successful career on that kind of thinking.

We’ll talk more about that next Monday. 

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,

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