Looking forward, not back

Well, after I wrote my last column I had a couple of better tournaments. It wasn’t anything to brag about, but at least I caught a few. My year ended up at 67 in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. I don’t think I’ve ever had a season that bad. Maybe I have and just don’t remember it, but I don’t think it’s ever happened before. Hopefully my positive finish will carry forward.

Along those lines I was asked by a writer what I intended to do different next year, what changes I intended to make. I suppose he was talking about changes in my routine, my practices or my approach to competition. It’s a fair question, but my answer is none. I’ll approach next year just like last year and all the other 31 years of my professional career.

I don’t see the point in looking back. I try to look forward.

All of my professional life I’ve thought about every tournament after it was over. I take stock of what I did right, what I did wrong and how I might have made decisions differently that would have created a more positive outcome. After that I put it behind me and look to the future. Every event is a new opportunity.

Looking back too far is a waste of time and, if you’re not careful, it can lead to negativity or to doing things that don’t make sense.

Years ago I tried to practice and prefish every event well before it happened. But now that’s darn near impossible. The schedule makes it tough and with the off-limits period the way it is prefishing doesn’t help that much. It’s so far in advance that any information you get is useless by the time the tournament rolls around.

There are exceptions, however. In most cases I know something about where we’re going. That’s not true with Lake Cherokee this year. I’ve never been there so I’m going up next week and look things over. That’s mostly to see what kind of a lake it is and to get my bearing as I boat around it. Any fishing knowledge I get will be useless for the reasons I just stated.

I’ve said over and over — maybe a thousand times — that the most important thing about fishing is confidence. With it you’ll be competitive in most tournaments. Without it you won’t amount to much. That’s true if you’re just out fishing, too. Can’t can’t do anything.

How you build confidence by reviewing every mistake you made last year is something I can’t understand. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s fine to realize when you make a mistake but thinking about them all winter is of no value.

As far as having my worst year ever is concerned I’ll say that any professional bass angler will have a worst year, just as he will have a best year. That’s by definition. It can’t be any other way. I had mine in 2016.

Have confidence in your abilities and think positive. You can’t do anything about yesterday. Think about what you’re going to accomplish tomorrow.