Now that we have a solid working definition of what it means for a lake or river to fish big or small, it's time to think about how that helps us catch fish. I have a reputation — well deserved in some respects — for fishing fast and running around the lake hitting lots of spots during the day.
Bodies of water that fish big suit that type of approach. Naturally, if there are lots of places in a particular venue that share similar characteristics it'll help that style of fishing. In a perfect world it's possible to develop two or three patterns during practice, along with enough places to last for however long the tournament is, and then go to work when competition starts.
But, that doesn't mean all is lost just because a lake is fishing small. There's still plenty of opportunity to have a good day of recreational fishing or a good tournament. It's really a matter of understanding that you have to develop a plan with what Mother Nature has given you. It's a head game.
Maybe it's a matter of looking harder, trying to find the spot on the spot that the other guys have missed. Or maybe it's about developing a different pattern, something that conventional wisdom says you should never do under the prevailing circumstances.
And sometimes it's about nothing more than accepting the fact that if you're going to catch fish you're going to have to fish in a crowd. Liking or disliking it has nothing to do with anything.
This is where a positive mental attitude comes into play. I've written time and time again about the importance of believing in yourself and in your abilities. Things don't always go your way. That's a part of life. But that's no reason to turn negative or start thinking negative thoughts or to feel sorry for yourself or to start thinking that fate is out to get you.
Just because a lake or a river isn't fishing the way you want it to — that usually means that all the boats are rubbing rails on "your" spot — is no reason to get down in the dumps or start believing in false concepts like "bad luck." All that'll do is make things worse.
Look for a pattern you can fish, and work on the things you can. Keep a positive mental attitude and avoid going negative at all costs. You'll be better off for it. It's no accident that I end every blog by saying it's all about the attitude. Positive thinking is the most important attribute you can have — in life as well as in fishing.
Never forget, it's all about the attitude.