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Fishin' Fool

Mental aspect of tournament fishing

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For those of you who have been tournament fishing for a while how do you shake off a tough tournament season? Background info I'm in a club of about 30 members. The first 2 years back in the club after taking about 7 years off for a 2nd marriage and a new little one I was pretty competitive. In fact last year I qualified for our Club classic which the top 10 anglers by point standings qualify for, then ended winning it and catching the big bass of the day. I really expected big things heading into this tournament season and it was a complete flop. Tell me some of the things you did to bounce back the following season.

 

FYI-  I know it's early for the season to be over but I can't make the away tournament this weekend and I already ate a 0 in another tournament so yes my season is over. 

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Go someplace where you know that you're going to catch a ton of bass.  Helps me shake off just about anything.

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Slumps are something we all deal with; I've found through the years the best way to handle them is to get back to basics. I know what my strengths are and fish towards them; I suggest you should do the same. If you are good at Flipping/Pitching, Texas Rigs, Cranks, Spinners, or what ever concentrate on those techniques. If you are good at shallow water, deep water, or grass concentrate on those areas.

 

I've learned to down size my tackle to just the basics, it is extremely hard to be a master of all the available techniques. I'm very good at Jig-N-Craws, Texas Rigs, & Spinner baits so I fish where I can maximize these strengths. I'm not that great with Crank baits so when in a slump I don't waste time fishing them. I don't try new techniques either when in a slump.

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I don't think that fishing is that much different than most individual sports in that respect.  So on that note, when professional athletes are in your shoes, the go back to fundamentals.  They track their game plan and why, if so, they deviated form it.  They often analyze video or retrace the situations, ect.  I have worked with a few sport psychologist and have seen the power of mindfulness and mindlessness.  In short, staying in the moment while competition without regard to outcome.  To many this is BS, but you can't deny it's outcome.

....Back to basics

...evaluate past performance 

...be " in the moment" stress free

 

One think is certain, added stress compounds a bad situation.  It's fishing

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Disipline....

Try not to worry about it. I know that's easier said than done but each time you're on the water it's a different day. You know you can catch fish,  but sometimes it's just harder to do just like some days are easier. 

 

As Catt said, start off fishing to your strengths useing what you know.

The biggest problem tournament anglers have is the preconceived notion that we're good enough to compete with anybody anywhere, until the day comes when we question everything, lose confidence in ourselves and realize we're not. 

 

I'm convinced I can compete with anybody in a t rig or punching shootout..I don't care who I'm up against...Why? Because of the times when I couldn't.

 

Fish your strengths, make them stronger..If you do that your weaknesses won't matter. 

 

 

Mike

 

 

 

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As a courtesy to a local High School fishing club, I used to regularly take young anglers out for both practice and tournaments.  They were too young to run the boat but I could let them tell me where they wanted to fish and let them run the TM.  I made some very interesting observations. The biggest mistake I saw them make (and this applies to all in a tournament setting) was that while in practice, they were cool headed, analyzed what they needed to and for the most part found fish.  Come tournament day with the same anglers in my boat.....once that blast off adrenaline hit along with the excitement of the tourney and the competitive spirit taking over,  they would go out and in no way replicate how they were catching them in practice.  Fished too fast, no patience on a spot, easily frustrated, over analyzing, second guessing and about a dozen other things that they did right in practice, they did wrong on tournament day.  

 

Moral of the story in your case......breathe deep, relax, go fish and don't let it get in your head.  It's only a slump if you think it is.  Find out why you are not producing and correct.  That is the mental side of the sport.  

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I just keep plugging away.  Overall standings don't concern me.  It's a lake by lake deal.

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If I have a bad tournament, I want to get back out on the water and compete again, almost immediately. I used to dwell on bad events for a long time after and threatened to quit tournament fishing all together regularly. I've grown a lot. I've realized that in the end, it's just fishing. We're always going to not win more than we win. Might as well relish in the victories and shrug off the losses. If not....beer always helps;)

 

 

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Blanking is a fluke.  Placing high is fishing consistently well.  Winning.....eh, everything has to go right, or you're just lucky.  I hate those, "blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut" days.

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On 8/7/2017 at 4:41 PM, Fishin' Fool said:

For those of you who have been tournament fishing for a while how do you shake off a tough tournament season? Background info I'm in a club of about 30 members. The first 2 years back in the club after taking about 7 years off for a 2nd marriage and a new little one I was pretty competitive. In fact last year I qualified for our Club classic which the top 10 anglers by point standings qualify for, then ended winning it and catching the big bass of the day. I really expected big things heading into this tournament season and it was a complete flop. Tell me some of the things you did to bounce back the following season.

 

FYI-  I know it's early for the season to be over but I can't make the away tournament this weekend and I already ate a 0 in another tournament so yes my season is over. 

You can obviously fish; qualifying for then winning the club championship shows this.

Did you miss 2 tourneys last year?

Possibly knowing that you couldn't fish all the club events this year had an effect on they way you fished the events you could make?

You got this!!

 

Here is some advice from a guy that didn't make the classic in 2014

 

https://www.bassmaster.com/news/kvd-ill-be-back

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I've bombed plenty of times, but the good finishes far outnumber those bad days. Nothing makes me want to get back out there as bad as getting beat. Kind of like a slumping baseball player, you got to just keep swinging, stick to the fundamentals, eventually you'll connect. I do a lot of reflecting, looking at what I did wrong and what I did right so I can try to correct it next time around. 

 

I've had a pretty poor tournament year this year myself. Let wins that were mine for the taking get away a couple times, made some bad decisions, tried to do some things that weren't my strengths, and lost a lot of fish. This last one I went out and did what I know works at that lake that I'm good at doing. Ended up winning and catching the big bass in the last 15 minutes because I stuck with a bait that I knew was a big fish bait and the conditions were right for it. 

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Fishin', it boils down to confidence.

 

And yes, tournament fishing is a challenge, especially from the mental aspect of the sport.

 

You have to work through poor tournaments and not tear yourself apart.  After all, you can throw the right baits at the right time but if there are no bass in the area it all goes for naught.

 

So continue to have confidence in your techniques, tackle and baits and you will once again rise to the top.

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not my saying but I always like to tell myself I didn't get beat, I just ran out of time.

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If you loose confidence in your own abilities it's going to be a long tough day on the water.

I agree with Catt go to your confidence lures and rigs, then go fishing.

Tom

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I think it is harder for back seaters to overcome tough seasons than boaters. When I fish as a boater and have a bad day I usually do what everyone else says and go back to what I best at which is power fishing cranks, spinnebaits just covering as much water as I can. But I find that when I'm a back seater I always get put with a boater who wants to flip docks or drop shot all day. When I have a rough day I can't get back out there and correct it because I have the potential of pairing up with another finesse boater and my rough days continue (My season this year). As a boater I would say (even during the event) stop for a minute and think of how you are best at catching, even if the conditions don't call for that technique you can still be productive fishing your confidence.

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I have never fished a tournament in my life.  However, I do know something about competing in a individual sport. 

 

I'd start by giving myself an honest assessment of both seasons.  Don't over analyse every tiny detail.  Focus on the things you know your good at and the things you know you struggle with.  Figure which impacted you more on each season.  Make corrections and be ready for next season.

 

 

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On 8/7/2017 at 3:59 PM, IndianaFinesse said:

Go someplace where you know that you're going to catch a ton of bass.  Helps me shake off just about anything.

 

Nothing is better at building confidence!  Confidence in your bait, your ability to find and catch fish. This goes a long way toward winning tourneys.

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On 8/7/2017 at 3:41 PM, Fishin' Fool said:

FYI-  I know it's early for the season to be over but I can't make the away tournament this weekend and I already ate a 0 in another tournament so yes my season is over. 

 

You need to know and learn the "Three Cs" of competitive fishing!

 

Many find it hard to split time between our sport and that of family issues, current careers and commitments. The most successful you'll find are those that have family that share their love for the sport and stand behind what you are doing or are simply single. Look at competitive fishing from the top levels down. Do you think any of them are successful if they miss a tourney or don't use every minute of practice time available to them? I was a Marshal for the Elites on Lake Dardanelle earlier this year. On day 3 I was with Jesse Wiggins. He is a very young man (and polite as you'll find) with a promising future. I had met his mom and girlfriend before takeoff that morning and later ask him about him getting married. He said he had told himself he would not get married until he had established himself more (wow he's already fishing the top professional series in the world and he's not established already???). He had told me the story of his brother who was also a good fisherman but he had already gotten married and simply couldn't find the time to pursue a professional career. Some pros have businesses outside the sport and have commitments which take away from the time they have. These guys are the pros that rarely rank in the top 50 or so of any given tourney. One of the top elite pros told me this earlier this year. "Competitive fishing is 90% finding fish and 10% catching them." I've been fishing tourneys since 1991 so I already knew this. I also almost lost my wife to fishing in my early days because of the time I spent on the water vs. the time I spent with her and our new baby (whos 26 now). I had aspirations of going pro and was well on my way but the fact it would cost me my family changed that rather quickly. I did not want to loose my family and being 10 years into my military career, I couldn't see wasting those tens years for something that had so many uncertainties! Ever since then, I only fish club tourneys and an occasional open or Big Bass tourney. My success in any of those is directly related to time on the water, being consistent, and not missing a single event throughout the year. No matter if you are a pro, fish clubs or trails and they use a weight or points system, missing a single tourney can mean the difference in being AOY and and a 10/20th place finish for the year.

 

So what are the three Cs? Commitment, Confidence and Consistency!

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