How Confident A Fisherman Are You?
To many anglers bass fishing is like rolling the dice and hoping that you don’t get snake-eyes. Even local pros and great fishermen like Tommy Martin and Harold Allen have days that regardless of all that sophistated equipment – the bass still wins. No matter how much knowledge you gain or how many days you are on the water, there are just some days when the bass get “lock-jaw” and refuse to cooperate.
Many things can go wrong during a fishing trip. Perhaps the day starts off with miserable weather. Maybe you are worried about those job lay-offs or that amount of time that your youngster is spending on the cell phone. Perhaps it’s the ups and downs of the stock market or even that funny noise you heard this morning from your towing vehicle. There are a variety of other worrisome things that can take place to make it difficult to fully enjoy your day on the water. However, if you don’t enjoy the trip simply because the fish don’t cooperate, then you are not really an angler in the truest sense of the word.
The amount of enjoyment to get from bass fishing depends largely on your attitude towards fishing and your confidence. In many cases when the fishing gets tough an angler will just fold up and lose their confidence. I have a number of guide friends that deal with this on a daily basis. The clients arrive all enthused and ready to set the world on fire. The fishing gets slow and out the window goes all of that early enthusiasm and confidence. I assure you that all of the guides I know want you to have a great day on the water and catch fish.
But hiring a guide guarantees nothing except that the guide will do his best to find fish. Most of the pros are confident anglers and even when the day is tough they know that there will be another day on the water to validate their skills. These guys are pros because they have learned to succeed at bass fishing by learning from earlier failures. A bad day on the water can teach as many lessons (or more) as a good one.
So how do we go about being a confident fisherman? Well here are a few comments that might help.
A confident angler is not always trying to impress others simply to pad their egos or get public admiration. And you don’t become confident anglers without paying your dues. Most confident anglers study their sport and spend hours on the water. They experience many disappointments before they are proficient at this sport. I have used the statement many times that “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the princess.” How true this is in bass fishing.
Confident fishermen have a truly deep understanding of the fish they are after. They study their seasonal feeding habits and the types of lures that are best for attracting them. I have been told that most anglers are “hard-headed”, but I know that confident anglers are also very versatile and willing to experiment with various presentations.
The confident fisherman also needs to understand that weather plays a major role in what kind of fishing day he may have. They learn how different weather conditions affect the bass and why. They learn more about temperature changes, seasonal fronts, water depths and the wind because these are all important factors in deciding a feeding pattern.
A confident fisherman understands structure because this determines where the bass live at different times of the year. Bass need food so the confident fisherman learns where the forage fish are because he knows that the bass won’t be far away.
The confident fisherman spends a great deal of time assuring that all of his fishing equipment is in good working order. Nothing is more frustrating than to go to the lake and have a run down battery, a fishing reel that messes up or old fishing line that breaks as you set the hook on your first fish. Everything needs to be in perfect working order so you can concentrate on a great day of fishing.
A confident fisherman spends time learning his electronics and proper boat control. Being able to follow a contour and make precise casts to hidden spots can be critical. For these guys the boat always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Under tough fishing conditions a confident angler will bare down, but he is never in a panic mode. He may have a bad day today, but has the confidence to know that his skills and persistence will pay off tomorrow. And he knows that he will never stop learning.
Fishing is an exciting adventure filled with many wonderful experiences as you make the journey. A confident fisherman knows that the fishing is always going to be unpredictable, but will be mentally prepared for both the good days and the bad. A fellow fisherman much wiser than me once made a statement that I will never forget. “Bass fishing is a big ol’ puzzle and your job is to fit the puzzle pieces together. If one piece doesn’t fit you try another. If that piece doesn’t fit you try another. You do this until you find the right combination, and this is how you build your confidence.”
Good Fishing — JB