It just happens

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James Overstreet

I’ve come off two strong tournaments in a row. I’ve been asked over and over what’s changed. I certainly wasn’t fishing that well earlier in the season. The change is momentum. But why it changed, and how to keep it from changing back, is a mystery to me.

Momentum is an elusive concept. I suppose that you could say that it’s when things go good or bad, time after time. It happens without a plan or a specific thought. It just happens. For some reason we get into a groove. Sometimes it’s a positive groove. Sometimes it’s a negative groove. There’s very little any of us can do to control it.

If you want to talk fishing, the most obvious place where this happens is picking a place to fish. Sometimes when I’m running down the lake I’ll have a very specific place in mind to start. But then, for reasons I don’t understand, I’ll change my mind and go somewhere else. I’m guessing that’s happened to you, too.

When I’m in a negative groove that turns out to be a disaster. When I’m in a positive groove that turns out to be a great thing. I’d give almost anything if I could tell you how to control it all. I can’t. It’s just there. There’s nothing rational or scientific about it. It’s cosmic. Maybe it’s caused by unseen forces in the universe. If that sounds crazy to you, give me a better explanation.

As a practical matter all we really need to understand is that it happens, and then learn to live with it.

Fishing isn’t the only sport where you see this come into play. Why does a hitter get three or four base hits in a row and then strike out three or four times in a row? Why does every close call seem to go his way at the plate, or against him? The ball and bat are the same. And for the most part the umpires are fair and honest.

I suppose everyone who reads this column fishes at some level. So take heart fellow anglers. We all suffer from — and get the benefit of — these swings of momentum. They happen. When things are going your way, enjoy the experience. When they’re not, take consolation in the fact that it won’t last forever.

Make sure you keep things in perspective, too. Learn to objectively evaluate the things that are happening around you. Frankly, I struggle with that concept sometimes.  

You know, you never hear anyone say they lost a little one at the boat. That’s true, I think. It’s always a big one. Likewise, you rarely hear anyone talk about the time a hook fell out of a fish’s mouth after it was safely in the boat. It’s always just before that, when it gets away.

Life swings back and forth. Enjoy it while it lasts.

If any of you have questions — techniques or otherwise — you’d like answered, post them under the column. I’ll do my best to answer them. My job is to help you catch more bass.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, mikeiaconelli.com.