Roumbanis: When practice hurts

Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer once said, "It's a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get." There's little doubt that where bass fishing is concerned, practice — or time on the water — can affect the luck factor.

Some, including Elite Series pro Fred Roumbanis, would point out that there is such a thing as too much practice, however. "You can spend too much time practicing," admits Roumbanis. "It becomes evident when you're fishing a lake that you have a lot of history on. Anglers who have no preconceived ideas about that body of water often have the upper hand because they're starting from scratch. Someone who has a lot of history on a lake will base their practice on past results and really waste a lot of time in the process."

The Oklahoma pro points out that over-practicing hurt him last year during a tournament on the California Delta, a place he knows better than the back of his own hand. "I just never settled down and got into any kind of groove because I was always thinking 'they should be biting over here,' or 'I should be doing this,' " he says. "If you spend too much time on a body of water, it can really hurt your performance during the tournament.

It leads to information overload." As a self-described pattern fisherman, Roumbanis says that his practice time is spent identifying a general pattern and then refining that pattern as his practice progresses. "I don't allow myself to get mixed up with too many different things," he explains. "Professional anglers are a lot like weekend anglers in the sense that we don't have a lot of time to waste," he explains.

"When we figure something out, we just have to go with it. When I discover a pattern, I'm able to take one particular bait and expand to a series of baits that will work equally as well," he points out. "The difference is the angler who burns down a bank and catches a fish and doesn't think about why that fish was there.

He picks up the trolling motor and runs to another spot to try it again. Over the course of a few days, he might catch a few fish but he'll never get into any kind of groove." According to Roumbanis, most anglers who "over-practice" don't give any particular pattern the chance to develop. Rather, they either fish from memory or end up hopping from spot to spot.

"I really feel like when I pull up to an area, that's the spot that I need to be fishing," he says. "I'm going to give it time to develop and reserve the right to adjust as conditions require. That comes with experience." The biggest problem with too much practice is that it may keep an angler from seeing the obvious, Roumbanis points out. "When the tournament starts, you will naturally have a hard time committing to something that didn't work during practice," he says.

"You have to keep in mind that if you never gave a particular pattern time to develop because you were too busy 'practicing,' how are you going to know once the tournament starts if it'll work or not? That's the biggest issue with practicing too much."

(Provided by Z3 Media)


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