Winning is about recovering

I had an interesting experience the other evening that I thought might be worth writing about. It centers on the concept of recovery and how that affect the outcomes of tournaments. Let’s start with the obvious.

Every angler loses fish. It’s the nature of our sport. We — most of us anyway — have a tendency to look back and think if only that big hawg hadn’t somehow shaken lose we’d be in good shape when we got to the scales.

Of course, we don’t mention the big one that was skin-hooked and that somehow ended up in the boat’s livewell. We take that for granted. It’s as if we’re entitled to good luck, but bad luck is another matter.

Losing a giant was my fate in a tournament recently. We finished second. It wasn’t an Elite event. It was a local tournament. And it was a giant only because of where I was fishing. Nevertheless, I was heartbroken. I knew that fish would have taken big fish honors and would have put me in the winner’s circle.

Those moments are precious and the opportunities for them are few. It hurt. I won’t tell you any different.

But, when it happened, I had no choice but to keep my head down and continue fishing. You can’t allow something like that to ruin your evening or to negatively affect the rest of the time you have on the water. You move forward, mostly because you don’t have any other choice.

You will note, however, that I didn’t say I put it out of my mind or that I didn’t think about it anymore. You hear that nonsense a lot in this business. “Put it behind you and everything will be OK,” they say. Well…not really.

Everything isn’t OK when you lose a really good fish in competition. That doesn’t mean that you should cry and think negative, though. You keep fishing.

So, if you lose a giant bass this weekend, keep fishing. But don’t be bothered by the fact that it sticks in your mind. You are not alone. It sticks with everyone, and everyone includes Elite Series anglers. We’re men, not robots.

Whenever possible, try to think about it in a positive light. You can always take the view that if you found one big one you can find another one just as big. Sometimes it’s a stretch to make that argument but, in truth, it’s about the only thing you can do other than try to remember the ones you did land with a poor hookset.

It’s really all about positive thinking when you’re fishing a tournament. In fact, all of life is about positive thinking. If life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade, might sound trite but there’s a reason it’s said so often. That reason is because if you think that way you’re much more likely to be successful in the end.

I don’t mean to preach. It’s just that positive thinking and recovering from adversity is important to me. Most of the people I know who are able to do it are better off for it.

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