I can do better

OK, let’s face it; my Florida tournament performance was horrible. We’re going to talk about some things in a minute but before we do I want to congratulate Ish Monroe on his win; Chris Lane on a fine comeback effort; and the Big O for producing heavy bags of fish over a four day span of time. They all did a good job.

I don’t know what’s wrong but whatever it is, it’s beginning to take a toll on me. Back when I first started fishing, I made steady progress. I was no Kevin VanDam but I caught my share and usually, over a two- or three-year period, did noticeably better. That’s no longer the case. In truth, I’ve slipped since the 2008 Bassmaster Classic.

It’s not physical. I feel as good as I ever have and I’m able to make accurate casts and work my baits like I always could. It’s mental. Something happens out there, and I just don’t get it done. I’m worried about that. I don’t want my fishing attitude to turn negative, but...

I love everything about fishing tournaments except the weigh-ins. It’s fun to launch in the morning, fish all day, meet the fans and talk to the press. Heck, I even enjoy the long drives and the cheap motels — well, sort of. But come 3 p.m., it’s not fun anymore. It’s turning into misery. That’s beginning to scare me to death.

Other than Tracey, all I live for is fishing. It’s what I think about day and night. I measure my life by my on-the-water activities. I don’t want that to change. I’ve always said that success without real joy in your life is meaningless. I need fishing. I’m addicted to it as sure as a cocaine addict is addicted to cocaine.

Of course, it’s one thing to talk about all this stuff but it’s another to do something about it. I know that one of my problems is that I like to fish too much. Bass fishing at this level is about weight, not catching fish. I sometimes catch fish without enough concern for their size. Another factor might be that I’m stretched too thin.

It’s great to tell people that I get up before everyone else and work on Signcom. It’s a status thing, hard work and all that. It’s also distracting from the task at hand — finding big bass. Or it might be that I fish too many tournaments. I usually hit 30-35 in a year. Maybe I should cut down to just the Elites and a few Opens. I honestly don’t know.

I’ve even been giving some thought to working with a sports psychologist. I know lots of successful people use them. I’ve resisted that because in the back of my mind I don’t think they know how to bass fish. But that’s not my problem. It’s my head that needs work, not my rod and reel.

I’m sorry to be so negative but I have to get this off my chest. I can do better.

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