Keep your head up

Tournament bass fishing can be very humbling. Some tournaments go great and some go bad. Every angler has a really bad tournament sometimes, but the good anglers do not let the bad ones hurt their confidence.

I had a pretty rough tournament at last week's Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #1 on the Harris Chain, as I finished 91st. I am not even sweating it, just moving on to focus my efforts on the next event.

Up until a few years ago, I would let a bad tournament finish destroy me. I would get down and out, complain, and harp on what should have been or what I should have done differently. My confidence was down and I didn’t know it, but the negativity was hurting my next tournament.

Somewhere along the line, 4 or 5 years ago, I realized what I was doing and told myself that I will not let tournament finishes affect my attitude. After that, I started fishing a lot better and having more fun.

Bass anglers, just like all other athletes, have good and bad days. I remember watching Michael Jordan when I was younger, and every now and then he would have a horrible game. You think those bad games destroyed his confidence? Absolutely not, he would come back the next game and score 35.

Just like KVD says in his blog, “Remember, it’s all about the attitude.” A positive attitude is everything in this sport. Anglers who stay positive and focused succeed. With all the time we spend alone practicing and traveling, the right mindset is essential.   

One thing that helps me stay positive is that I always remember that bass fishing is a learning experience. I try to learn something at every tournament, and this past Open was no different.

As I said in my previous blog, Florida bass act different than anywhere in the country. Last week, the bass wanted to start spawning but the water temp was slightly too cold for them. Several cold fronts kept the fish pretty fickle, and that is why many anglers struggled.

Since I never really figured out what the fish were doing, I decided to go back out on the final day and watch Chris Lane. It was a pretty amazing day! Watching Chris I learned what Florida bass relate to in pre-spawn situations. I also learned what it really means to fish slowly. Chris would cast his worm out and let in sit for 20 seconds or more before moving it, then move it 3 feet and repeat. Chris told us on the water that his motto in Florida is “how slow can you go?” After watching him for a day, I believe it! Watching him catch 28 pounds was a great way to end that tournament. Congrats, Chris!

I am on Lake Okeechobee now, pre-practicing for the Elite event, and having a blast. My first day here I caught 28 pounds. It’s pretty crazy how many big fish live down here! I will fish here for a few more days and then head up to the St. Johns River for several days. I love Florida weather, 80 degrees in January ... I’ll take it!

Remember to chase your dreams!