It's a learning process, Part 2

Saturday was a new day, in more ways than one. When it started all I really wanted to do was catch a fish or two, get myself straightened out and show my marshal a good time. But, after I caught some weight in the first two hours I started to think I might be able to get up there towards the top. A big sack on Saturday and another big one on Sunday would have made a huge difference in where I finished.

I started at the closest place I’d fished on Friday. It was out of the wind and the cold. About 15 or 20 casts later I had a 3-pounder. Then, a few casts later, I put a 4 1/2-pounder into the livewell. My confidence was up. It was game on from there until it was time to come in.

A couple of things happened. First, I had a new attitude, and it showed in how I was fishing. I managed to find the right cadence with my jerkbait early on. That’s everything with one of those things. Work them right — speed, twitches, pulls, pauses — and you can load your boat. Work them wrong and you’ll struggle all day. I was working mine right.

The other thing was my attitude adjustment. After seeing the weights that the other guys brought to the scales on Friday I realized that bass would bite in 39-41 degree water. That realization changed my whole approach. I fished with the confidence you need to catch fish in a tough tournament against high-quality anglers.

I’m talking about those two things as if they were separate and apart from each other. They aren’t. It’s kind of like the chicken and egg question we all heard as kids. You can’t have one without the other. Which came first or which is the most important is something that can’t be answered. Each makes the other stronger, and both (technique and confidence) are necessary for success.

The biggest lesson from all of this is to not let negative feelings and attitudes get into your head. I let the water temperature drop get the better of me and I paid a heck of a price for it. And the next biggest lesson is to not fall into a mental trap of doing the same thing over and over when it’s not producing fish. I did that when I fell into the trap of spot fishing. I know better but did it anyway. And again, I paid a heck of a price for it.

There is a positive to all of this, however. I learned something that’ll make me a better angler in the future. I’m a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. Maybe I needed those lessons and maybe what I learned will help me at some point in the future when I need it more than I did last week.

Hey guys, it’s fishing! If all we had to do was throw a lure into the water to catch a big one it wouldn’t be any fun.     

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