How To Bounce Back From a Bad Tournament

How To Bounce Back From a Bad Tournament We all go through it. We have a bad event and beat ourselves up on the long trip home. Here's how to turn yourself around.


Bouncing back from bad tournaments is critical to success.

Bouncing back from bad tournaments is critical to success.

I’ve been a professional fisherman for decades and still have bad events.  We all go through it.  We have a bad event and beat ourselves up on the long trip home.  But there are a few things I’ve developed that keep me from second guessing myself.  I’m still learning, but getting better at doing this as I mature in my career.

    The biggest thing is to analyze the event.  It’s hard to do, because as humans we don’t want to think about “failure.”  But if you really break it down and analyze it, you can learn a lot.  Whether you use this information next week or next year, it really does help you bounce back and not make those mistakes again. 

    Write down notes as you ask yourself questions such as:  What did I do?  What did the winners do?  What adjustments didn’t I make?  Was it a color thing?  If so, why didn’t I pick that color?  Should I have used braid instead of mono?  By asking yourself those types of questions, you’re learning from it.


    I had a bad event on the St. John’s River no too long ago, and I started analyzing.  As I did this, I kinda figured out what I shouldn’t have done.  One of them was putting all my eggs in one basket.  I went into one area during practice and saw all these fish on beds, and thought, “This is it.  This is how I’ll win it.”  So I put all my eggs in one basket and committed.  On day one, I discovered about eighty percent of the field had found them too, and then a big front came through and pushed the fish off the beds.  I learned from that.  Always have a B plan, and a C plan, and have backups.  The rest of the year I spent trying to find multiple patterns at every event.

    By asking you about these things, you’ll learn a lot.  Don’t be afraid to criticize yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Be objective, and you’ll learn from a bad event and become a better angler that much faster.  I used to be angry with myself for days after I had a bad event, and that just slowed me down from learning from my mistakes.  Now I just shake it off and focus on learning from it.  Focus on improving your performance, and you’ll find it easier to be critical of yourself.

    It’s a fine line.  I’ve tried over the years to remind myself to get back into reality, and to “ground” myself.  Becky and my family help me out a lot with that.  I also remind myself that every day I get to come out here and do something that I absolutely love to do.  So remember to ground yourself and don’t get too upset with yourself.

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Mike Iaconelli Fishing

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