Dealing with adversity, Part 1

Everybody has things go wrong when they’re out fishing. There will be days when your batteries go dead, your big motor doesn’t run or you get into an argument with another angler.

Those things are a part of our sport. Successful anglers deal with them. Unsuccessful anglers let their tempers get the better of them and end up not catching as many fish as they could.

Suppose you’re in a creek and your big motor doesn’t fire. Are you going to look around, analyze the creek and realize there are fish in it that you can catch, or are you going to lose your temper, feel sorry for yourself, get all out of whack and accomplish nothing that day? The choice is yours, and it really is a choice.

A successful angler will fish the creek in a methodical and professional manner and then catch a ride to the weigh-in with another competitor. Believe me when I tell you that every angler fishing with B.A.S.S. or any other major circuit has had that or something much worse happen to him or her. The good ones don’t let it get the better of them.

Way back in the 1990s, I had an experience that’ll show you what I’m talking about. We were fishing a tournament on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. My trolling motor completely quit before I even launched. I put my spare on. It didn’t work either.

Back in those days the sponsors didn’t have spare boats for you like they do now. B.A.S.S. had a couple of brand new ones up in the parking lot, though. I don’t think they’d ever been cranked. I put my stuff in one of them real quick and took off without paying any attention to the paperwork.

In a very short period of time the water patrol stopped me to check everything in my boat. The paperwork wasn’t right. There was some problem with me not being the owner, and I might have been short one or two pieces on top of that. (I don’t mean to be vague about this. I just don’t remember all the details, and they don’t matter for this story anyway.) I got a ticket and was ordered off the water. Nothing I said made any difference.

I returned to the dock and straightened out the paperwork with the tournament director. But now I had another problem. I’d gotten a ticket. It was yet to be determined if I would even be allowed to weigh any fish I caught that day. That, in turn, created yet another problem for me.

Should I go and try to catch the big ones I’d located in practice and hope I would be allowed to weigh them later that afternoon or should I save them for the next day when I knew I could weigh them in?

I’ll tell you what I did in Part 2.

For right now I want to point out that no matter my bad luck with my trolling motors, no matter my paperwork issues and no matter how unreasonable the water patrol guy was in writing me a ticket, I had to deal with it.

Getting mad wouldn’t get me three or four hours of fishing time back, and it wouldn’t solve my potential problem with getting a ticket. My problem was to figure out a way to put things together as best I could and to salvage what I could out of the day and the tournament.

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