VanDam's World

Hello! My blog is back. I should be posting a new entry every week from now on.

I thought now, with many club tournament series getting underway, might be a great time to talk about the ups and downs of fishing bass tournaments. You know, sometimes it seems as if you can't do anything wrong; other times it seems as if you can't do anything right.

I don't look at my fishing career that way. I see it as a series of individual opportunities.

As an example, let's look at my Elite Series season so far. In March and April I finished 31st on the Harris Chain; 1st on Kissimmee; 45th at Falcon; and 56th in the shortened tournament on Amistad.

Was I in a slump at Harris? How about a hot streak at Kissimmee? And, what about finishing 45th and 56th in the Texas events, after winning on Kissimmee? Surely that qualifies as an April slump, doesn't it?

No, no, no to all of those questions. Winning on Kissimmee didn't mean I was hot, unbeatable, or anything like that. It meant I made good decisions those four days. That's why I won.

And, I'm not in a slump after Texas because there is no such thing. Let me say that again, there is no such thing as a slump! I had a couple of tournaments where I didn't catch the fish I needed to win. I didn't make the right decisions when it counted. That's all there is to it.

A slump is a false state of mind. It's an excuse for not winning. It doesn't exist in my world and it shouldn't exist in yours.

The past is the past. The only reason to revisit a tournament is to prepare for another one. Sure, you learn lessons from every tournament you fish. Sometimes, the most important lessons are learned the hard way — without fish.

But if you make a few bad decisions, or even if you make several in a row, it doesn't mean you're in a slump, "snake bit," or suffering the wrath of the gods. It means you made bad decisions. That's all there is to it.

Look to the future. That's why I'm so excited about fishing Clarks Hill next week. The water's down and the lake will fish like a new body of water for us. I can't wait to test my decision-making skill there.

If you're a weekend recreational angler you should adopt the same attitude. Look to the future. What you did last Saturday doesn't count. It's what you do this Saturday that matters. This weekend is a new opportunity to make new and better decisions regardless of what decisions you made last weekend.