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smallieking

terrible year this year need help

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I dont know what happened to me this season. Not a win or even a second place. Last year I had three wins and won my curcuits AOY. So does anyone have any tips so that I can save my season with only 4 tournaments remaining?

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Keep chunkin & reelin ;)

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don't let it get in you head. quickest way to psych yourself out is to get negative.

I assume you will be fishing similar waters as last year at this time. Review your GPS data and try and remember what you where doing and the conditions at that time. Try and put together a pattern based on that info. Sounds like luck is not on your side this year, but your performance the previous year proves you know what to do.

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KVD always says that individual tournaments are just that:individual.  So your next tournament is not effected by your previous event.  IE You don't start off 7lbs behind the guy who won last time.

Now here is where you will get differing opinions on how to approach your next events.  I am sure they are located on similiar bodies of water and approximately the same dates as last year but, as you know, conditions will probably be completely different.  I agree with fireant on using last years patterns as a starting point but I would use them very very loosely since fishing on history can bury you. Check those out in practice and either confirm them as options or eliminate them.  Fish the moment and adapt through out the day.  If your gut tells you to do something, do it!  Don't fish certain spots and patterns just because they produced last year during the 3rd week in September.  If that worked then the same people would win the exact same tournaments every year.   :D  

I would go and spend some time with regards to looking at the weather for the week prior to the upcoming event, looking at a map with a clear mind and vision of where the fish should be in their seasonal patterns.  Also, when I feel like I am struggling, I spend more time around the highest percentage areas (ie. bridges and the rip rap around them) with my confidence baits.  And definitely don't force things.  Fish what you feel confident fishing instead of what "should produce the winning stringer."  

I hope this makes a little sense b/c I'm starting to develop digit diarreaha  ;D

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There may be some variables that you haven't accounted for. Or rather, the factors that made last year a winning year for you may not be there this year. Maybe the water has been lower or it's been cooler than last year. No two seasons (or days, for that matter) are exactly alike. If what worked last year is not working this year, you've got to try something different. Don't fall into the rut of last years routines. You may or may not improve your record but it doesn't sound like its been a stellar year for you so what have you got to lose? And the thrill of discovery is exciting. :)

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Don't get hung up on a specific technique or style lure remain flexible and fish the fish not what you like to throw. When what rules your world technique wise don't work, change the rules. To many people get hung up on strengths and forget to try other things, or don't seek out other areas because it is out of their comfort zone. If you need to brush up on other techniques to feel more comfort in using them in the tournament do it. Find other patterns that you wouldn't normally use. Most fishermen tend to be spot fishermen and not pattern fishermen. Meaning if they are flippers they find flipping areas (spots)where the technique works well. Other people are pattern fishermen and find areas that fish move to(pattern) for that time of year. Some find everything they need then come tournament time they find that great minds think alike and you got company. If this is the case then take the time to find the key area that will draw fish within that pattern. Take note of what options will work on that key area for active and inactive or pressured fish if it is a two or more day event. Figure out where they might re position if conditions turn south or find other areas that would be less effected. Areas that a fish can move a short distance when conditions change is better than a area that the fish need to move a great distance to be happy. Sometimes the key to the whole thing is to look at where they are at and analyze where they will go. Conditions change and relocate bait and fish move with them. Always have a deep and shallow strategy. If need be mark off small areas that would be a snap shot to what the rest of the water might be doing. For example find a feeder creek that might be a smaller version of what the river is doing or a cove to figure out what the lake is doing. Fish it to find what the fish are relating to then expand the idea for the rest of the water or modify it. Don't beat yourself as mentioned above and don't get mad and fish sloppy or fast. Be methodical in every aspect from what to use, where to go, how to fish it,  and how to win. I hope this helps you.

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I wrote this article a few years back.. might help.. might not..

Confidence is a Funny Thing

Have you ever wondered why a favorite angler you have watched over the years

has finished so differently?

I don't want to mention any names, but as I was sitting here this morning I could come up with dozens that were on top of the fishing world and now are just average anglers on the pro circuit (which is still way better than the rest of us.) I think that confidence has a lot to do with it.

The mind is a very powerful thing. I am sure we, as humans, have not even begun to grasp its powers yet. I have been asked to write more technical articles, like how to fish a Carolina rig and how to fish a Texas rig, much like my jerkbait article, and

I promise that I will.

However, I needed to write this article for myself.

You see, I am suffering much of this problem right now. So, unfortunately, I

can consider myself an expert on the subject. I feel myself second guessing,

not concentrating as much, and even not enjoying the competition as much. With that in mind, I would like to write a few lines on what I think confidence can do for you:

At the beginning of this fishing season, I had some really good tournaments.

Granted, I didn't win any, but I was happy with how I finished. I usually don't do as well during the mid summer tournaments, but I still usually manage to do well enough. This year I had done so well in the first few that I was beginning to think that I had a chance in the angler of the year contest or at least better than my thirteenth place last year. So, I started to worry about how I was going to do during the midsummer months and let my mind dwell on my faults rather than my strengths. I didn't think about how I had finished in the top ten in every tournament so far this year, I was thinking about how I was going to fall in the points. What I managed to do was talk myself right out of any contention. I finished in the lower half of the next five tournaments. What happened to me was a direct result of lack of confidence. I hoped I could turn things around with four tournaments left, but regardless, I have found it helpful to reflect upon the mental messages I have been giving myself most recently.

When you do not believe in yourself, you question your judgment. You're not sure if you are making the right decision, and you think about moving or staying in the place you are fishing rather than thinking about the task at hand, and that is fish THAT cast. If you are thinking about if you should be moving to a different spot, are you thinking about how your lure is crawling along the bottom? Did you feel that your lure is now hitting a

stiffer weed or larger rocks? Unless a fish hits really hard, you probably

missed it.

Concentration is such a large part of fishing. If you are thinking about other things you may be missing some weather change that could help you figure out where the fish are, and what changes you should be making. I could feel myself panicking if I didn't catch a fish on my first spot or I got a bad draw for blast off.

When I started to panic, I could feel my retrieve become more rapid. I would make casts knowing that a fish was not going to hit, and in my head I was wondering how everyone else was catching their fish. The snowball would just get bigger and my confidence was gone and so went my ability and everything I had learned.

The thing I needed to remember was, I know how to fish. I know how to make

the correct adjustments to weather, time of day, time of year. I know to not

make a cast if I don't think I can get a fish on it. I know that I need to

have everything working to outwit the fish, and I definitely know that I am

not against the other competitors. I couldn't care less how they are catching

them, it's me against the fish. When I fish, I almost need a cocky attitude.

I need to tell myself that I am throwing the right thing in the right spot

and making the right decisions. I need to be there again!

As said, I wrote this a few years back.. and in the last 3 years, got 2 AOY and this year got 2nd.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you dont.. just have to continue to make the right decisions and keep a lure wet!

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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, Lipless Cranks & Spinner Baits so I fish where I can maximize those strengths.

So when in a slump I would look for small things to change, like timing of the hook set, speed of the hook set. My favorite buddy & I have been fishing together for about thirty years & we don't hesitate telling the other when he is not on top of his game. It is not a major change that is usually needed

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It was a well known that while in his prime with the A's, Jason Giambi, and teammates would wear a thong underwear during a slump to break out of it.  Will it work for you?  I don't know, but make sure you don't bend down in front of the cameras if you do. 

In other words, get your mind off it.  Grilling yourself won't get you anywhere.

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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, Lipless Cranks & Spinner Baits so I fish where I can maximize those strengths.

So when in a slump I would look for small things to change, like timing of the hook set, speed of the hook set. My favorite buddy & I have been fishing together for about thirty years & we don't hesitate telling the other when he is not on top of his game. It is not a major change that is usually needed

I agree 100% go back to what your strong suit is. Stick with what you KNOW works. For me, I go to shallow water structure...docks, blowdowns, weedbeds. I throw senkos, jersey rigs, and spinnerbaits. Fish areas that have traditionally worked for me.

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My tournament partner have a saying we use whenever things get tough.  One of us will look at the other and say,

"SHUT UP AND FISH !!"

Best advise I can give any one. 

Don't start over analyzing.  If you know how to fish, keep doing what you know.  It'll come around.

Shut up and fish!!  Try it, you'll like it.

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The last time I was seriously competitive about something was autoxing a Camaro I had in sports car club of america events.

Courses where lined with small traffic cones to set up a mini road course, with handling, and precision car placement mattering the most.

You would get a 2 second penalty for each cone that you hit and that basically threw out that run.

I had two events of several dozen that year that I didn't hit any cones. I don't know what was happening other than it was this monkey on my back all year I couldn't get rid of. And I couldn't consciously not hit them as I felt then I was slowing down.

Point being you fall into a rut. If you think about it, and analyze it things just get worse. I'm so much cooler and collected under pressure that I don't let things like this spiral out of control. You take what you are given, 'or' make, and then move on.

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Does a tennis pro slow down his second serve after faulting? NO...go at it 100%. Trust your instincts that you have developed through experience. Get out into nature more and read the signs...try a non-rushed practice and do what you feel, not what you think fits. Might just trigger something good!

TJ

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fishing is like riding waves you go up and got down just keep on riding. just like a baseball getting in a hitting slump you just have to keep on working and practicing. it happens to everybody you have your bad years and remember thats why they call it fishing not catching  :)

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