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CJ

Just go fishin'... STUPID!

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When I find myself in pressured sitiuations to catch fish be it a tournament or an outing with a newbie,sometimes the mental aspect can be overcoming.I recently got some advice from a member "no thinkin'...just fishin'!Possibly the best advice I have ever got.

Now there are days that are tough and some that are even tougher,but somebody someway still manages a decent catch.During my tournament on Saturday,which was successfully pre-fished(I was on em'),my pattern totally failed.I was fishing topwaters,spinnerbait,vibration crankbait(rat-l-trap),and weightless senkos around grass points inside the bays.I knew the bite I was looking for would be limited to the morning hours,being it shallow and it was a bluebird day.I just couldn't find them and the ones I found were not biting,only bumping.So here comes that "Mental Monkey".Thoughts running through the mind of a young angler leading to bitter confusion.Time was running out,the sun was up.This is where an adjustment needed to be made.The one thing that I have found to be true,even a good pattern rarely catches fish all day long.There is a time during the day good patterns don't produce.

After thinking a little bit,I decided to go hit some docks with a lighter jig.I fished a stretch of about 10 docks with only one taker,a dink.So I go out and fish a few ledges at different depths,notta.Switch to a small diving crankbait,head back to another stretch of docks that have quite a bit of brush around them,switch up the crankbait and the jig,notta.By now I'm starting to stink,my butt is getting handed to me on my own stomping ground,after a week of great fishing.

My partner,who is a good fisherman but fishes by instinct that is led by little research on bassfishing.He just goes where he feels and throws what he feels(95% of the time,a jig).He was on the same pattern as me and had the same results,little action.He headed to the same thing I did,docks and brush within the bays.Only he ends up catching a 6 lber and a 3lber off the same dock.Luck may have swung his way but it's what he didn't do that gave him the opportunity,start thinkin'.

"Thinking",on some days well help,on other days hinder.Thinking will help when approached in the right attitude but may only confuse even more when when mental pressure is added.Using some thought is a must but to think to much can be a bad thing.So,I have four words to tell myself from now on,"just go fishin'...STUPID!

Sorry,don't mean to carry on with a sob story.A bad day on the weater can be some of the best experience.

Any input?  Cj

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I agree  A good angler learns when they don't catch any fish as well as their limit.  Do your reasearch, and figure out why you didn't get bit, and what may have worked, and how to present it.  Then the next time the same conditions arise, you will be prepared.

Congrats on your 1000th post.  I read your 999th, and laughed pretty hard.

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Guest avid

Dude, you had a bad day.  It happens to all of us.  I mean ALL of us, so don't beat yourself, it was your turn.

Now about this "thinking" business.

Thinking is ALWAYS good.  Now hear me out on this.   There is a big difference between true thinking which is a calm rational process, and panic thinking, which is not true thinking at all, but is actually fear based worrying.

You felt pressured.  Your buddy was outfishing you.  

Your self esteem was getting beat up.  

So you responded with desperation.

It is a natural consequence of competition.  There are winners and their are losers.

Today you lost.

Tomorrow is another day.

Hang in there.  And remember "Fishing is Fun"  

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There is a big difference between true thinking which is a calm rational process, and panic thinking, which is not true thinking at all, but is actually fear based worrying.

That's where I was trying to go with this.Thank You Avid!

I was a little down on this day but I'm not one to stay down.Just wanted to bring awarness to the mental aspect of fishing.

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I have some of  my very best tournaments at lakes I know little about and dont practice on at all.I just go out and fish.....its a whole lot simpler that way.Having too much information in your pocket can screw you up if your main pattern fails.

Being on your home lake when that happens just adds more pressure to the situation.

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There are times when you can out think yourself and there are times when just going on gut is better than thinking things through. Tough days can really throw guys for a loop because you start second guessing yourself and run around like a chicken with their head chopped off. Some guys stick to the same pattern waiting for it to turn on other guys just panic. They change from rod to rod lure to lure and place to place going back to square one and into prefishing mode. For myself there has not been many times when I had a pattern pegged and it turned out to be the winning pattern. Most of the time what I found in prefishing played a part in what worked for the tournament but my pattern in most cases is ever changing little adjustments. I have won several tournaments where I never spent one day prefishing. I knew the water and how it fished and I didn't want any preconceived notion of what I should be doing. On one lake the tournament started everyone took off here I am sitting still in the dock area putting a jig on the rod. My partner said "well are we going to fish?" I said yep and dropped the trolling motor and started fishing. I had 9 lbs over second place at weigh in and won big bass. I have had other tournaments that if I didn't prefish I would have been lost. We where fishing one lake and my partner found an area and wanted to fish it in the morning. It was a large bay with lots of irregular features in it. We started at the beginning of the bay and fished all of it. An hour later we where at the end of the bay and I had a small limit and my partner had 2 keepers. My partner said well lets try your spot. I never left that area because it had the most bait and enough wind to keep the fish active and no other boating pressure. We placed third that tournament. I will never leave fish to go find fish unless I sure that the place is tapped out of fish. Most of the time if I do leave I come back to check if they turned back on. Sometimes you got to be committed to a place and grind it out. Each situation is different and you gotta go by gut and make small adjustments to try to figure out what's up.

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When things go south:(more food for thought)

I have had more than one tournament that I never turned up a keeper pre fishing. I watched one of those new bass shows the other day and Rick Clunn hit the nail on the head and I am so glad someone finally came out and said it. You have got to fish for today and forget about yesterday or even the cast before. If you get caught up in the idea that the day is going to stink you already beat yourself. To many people fish or pre fish on a slow day sloppy and with a bad mind set and it effects your fishing greatly. It messes with you confidence and you start second guessing yourself. If you are in an area and you know there is fish there FISH IT! I don't care if there is no fish on your graph or if conditions change use that spot as a starting point and take some time to find the fish. Try to figure out how conditions caused the fish to move and areas that they should move to. If you need to slowdown, scale down, move down, whatever do it. If you need to take some time to re group and treat the lake as a new lake and find fish hey at least your being productive and you putting yourself in a better position to be in front of more fish or getting bites. Bites are the key then you can refine your technique and pinpoint your larger or in some cases keeper fish. I love tough tournaments or conditions because it messes up so many people. Most of the time people see tough conditions and it throws them for a loop. You need to make yourself think that each cast or pitch has a 5 pound bass sitting there waiting to bite. It sounds weird but you got to do it to put yourself in the right frame of mind. The other part is having a positive attitude which is hard at times but with these two things will help dig yourself out of a hole. Always remember that an angry man catches no fish. Patterns change from day to day hour to hour and you need to change with it. You got to figure them out even if it means you file 13 your pattern that you have been catching fish on for the past week. If the pattern isn't working you might have to start over from scratch and figure them out, change, or move. Sometimes its just a matter of hitting the right place at the right time. Some spots have a window of opportunity and if you are not there at the right time you miss out.  This could be a feeding area or point. Fish use places when they want to hang out or feed. If your there at the right time you cash in on the spot. If your there before the window opens or after it closes you miss out. The other part of this deal is that nobody fishes the same as everyone else. I remember one time I was teaching a guy how to pitch a jig. I told the guy to fish a brush pile the way he would normally. The guy fished the edges and tinkered around for a while then said nobody was home. Then I pitched in the brush pile and pulled out 2 fish. You can have a large group of fishermen on a given lake all saying the same thing there is no fish. Then you make a change and load the boat. Great anglers or not it could be a little thing that makes all the difference and maybe the other guys have not keyed into it. I had one tournament that was tough everyone was throwing up their hands and lost. I threw a spinnerbait and had a follower and then changed to a crankbait and had another follower. I switched 180 degrees and swam a 1/8 oz jig and loaded the boat. I had other times where they want one lure or color over another or depth. My point is that it could be just a little thing that maybe nobody had figured out yet. As you narrow down what the fish are doing and what they will hit your beginning to develop a pattern. A Pattern is nothing more than a group of fish doing the same thing at the same time either holding at a certain depth, cover, structure and you can duplicate what your doing to catch them in other areas of the same type. Some days the fish might be hanging on stumps that are right on the edge of a drop. You take what you learned from fishing that area and find other stumps that are sitting next to different drop offs and see if the fish are there. If they are then you just found a pattern. Sometimes you can have several patterns working at the same time.  Confidence plays a major part in trying to figure out a new lake. You could use the systematic approach where you start off with what you like to fish and then expand into other areas or techniques while you get a picture of what the lake is doing. As a tournament fishermen if you like to fish off colored water then you tend to try to find it if available. If your a structure fishermen then you look for the right structure that fits your style of fishing. We tend to look for something that is familiar to us or something that fits our style of fishing. For a lot of us every day is a jig day or crankbait day because we search out areas that that technique will work. What throws us for a loop is when the techniques we love to use don't fit the water that is new to us and we don't change what we are doing. Each lake fishes different and when your not comfortable using other techniques you get stuck. The all mighty 0! If someone says that they never blank they are telling you a story. Many people just chalk it up to they just where not biting. There are times when you find fish during practice on water that you know really well. Then the tournament comes around and you have nothing to show for it. You get back to the ramp just in time to hear one of the guys say "Man we really caught a ton of fish in practice but in the tournament they turned off." This is code word for they just fished out your hole. There are so many factors that go into why people with great intentions and skill still comes in with zip. The idea that everyone has off days is more true. There are times that no matter where you go or what you do you just have a hard time putting things together. I had a tournament last year on a heavy stained lake. During practice I knew what they where biting and how to catch a great limit. I prefished right and had several patterns working for me. I caught one 3 pounder on a spinnerbait in a pocket in some grass and that was it in the tournament. I didn't zero but I never got on the fish that I should have. I thought wow it must be a tough day. I came in for weightin and found out it was just tough for me. I never seen so many limits. The fish where on beds and I didn't know it. When I was prefishing the bass where in prespawn and when the tournament rolled around they where locked on beds. With the stained water I couldn't see them. This lake had a late spawn and I thought I was fishing post spawn fish. The lesson is to keep an open mind and check all options even when you think you got it right things change.

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LMAO...................

I originally came up with that a few days before the senko/fluke tourny. Ryan stays up nights with so much going through his head,...it's crazy. Thinks himself into a hole worrying about all the other anglers. "Randall this...", "doghouse that..."

I told him,..forget about them,...forget about everything and do what you love,..JUST GO FISH!

So I told him I want to have a shirt made, which,..now it looks like I'll have to have 2 made,...that say..

front:

DON'T THINK

back

JUST FISH

so, of couse, when they won, and CJ asked me to spread the mojo w/ a tourny day phone call, I also shared this piece of info.

Granted,..you need a game plan,...but it will always be you against the fish and it will be the other guy against his fish. It's who does a better job beating the fish that wins. Don't worry about each other,..go fishin'!

Otherwise, the only person you beat is yourself!

*************************************************

Chris- can't say it enough,..glad to have you back.

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As I sat and read this GREAT thread, drinking my coffee, I thought, he just wrote about me!

I get out on the water, with all these great expectations, because I know there are some big fish on my home lake.   I start fishing, and if things dont work like I THINK they should, I start out thinking myself, instead of concentrating on JUST FISHING.

Wow, I have had an epiphany.  Or maybe just a brain aneurism, I am not quite sure. :o

Thank you,  guys,  for turning on one more light bulb in this thick headed, stubborn fisherman's tacklebox.

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Russ, I already have that shirt: One of my key answers - Fishing for bass is simple; Keep it that way and you will catch more bass.

Go look in any good thesaurus: synonym for fishing - fun!

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1 month pre-fishin=3 fish 4.24 lbs

Next day just fishin=5 fish 17.44 lbs and $2K

I have a very detailed log for two lakes I fish pretty much every week. Did more harm than good!!

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LMAO...................

I told him,..forget about them,...forget about everything and do what you love,..JUST GO FISH!

Granted,..you need a game plan,...but it will always be you against the fish and it will be the other guy against his fish. It's who does a better job beating the fish that wins. Don't worry about each other,..go fishin'!

Otherwise, the only person you beat is yourself!

*************************************************

Ike says the same thing.  "Don't worry about the skill of the anglers your fishing with, your competeing against the fish."

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If like you say you were on them durung the mornining hours but had no sun's up pattern, you did not prefish well. If I get on a morning bite it is great but not enough and I will sleep in on the other prefishing days just not to get so dependant on that bite. there is such a difference in boat traffic and pressure on waters I fish between the weekdays and weekends that the bait fish do not act the same. The bass are only there to feed and if the bait moves so will the bass. You said it best on non-pressured days like prefishing you get on them but can not find them later in the same day you really need to step up and figure out where those bass move during prefishing cause as soon as 20 boats run by them on sat. that is where they will be.

I have been guilty of the same and this is just my thoughts on the issue.

Dale

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