By: Dennis Bryant "The Fishing-Professor"

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Sooner or later, everyone that fishes tournaments; “hits the wall” and loses control over big-tournament situations at the worst possible time. Maybe this article will help you eliminate that possibility ~ before it happens!

“John Doe” wrote an email to me about a week ago, and said that he “had just had the opportunity of a lifetime, and blew it!” He said that he “wanted to go home after the second day of a four-day circuit-finals tournament; because everything he was doing was going wrong; but stuck it out to the end.” He didn’t know why it went wrong; but he ended up 97th of the 100 entrants. He was totally embarrassed by his finish; and was really down on himself.

I simply replied that I was really sorry to hear that he did so poorly in the tournament! And that that sort of thing just happens sometimes! And, better luck next year!

Who was I kidding? How many times have I written or said, those exact same words to someone I’d barely known? I had to make some changes to my reply, but finally, I added the same advice to him, that I’m about to offer you.

Please understand; this little bit of advice comes from a sixty year old, professional tournament veteran. A guy that's experienced exactly what you have; at least once or twice during his twenty+ year pro fishing career. I've been there, and done that! Sometimes it does just happen! Sometimes there’s more to it than just a lot of nothing!

So, if this doesn’t apply to you; please, pass this article on to someone you know, who can use it.

From the old "Fishin' Professor": Thank you!


"A long time ago, I had a good friend that wouldn’t fish in tournaments; but was nonetheless, a darned good fisherman in his own right. He taught me exactly how to quickly regain my own fishing confidence, whenever I needed it.

If you're willing to accept this with an open mind; I'll pass his advice on to you:


If, after the first day of a tournament, you feel that you don't have a chance to win it; you won't!

Go home!

The same thing holds true with day two, or day three, or even day four of the tournament!

If you honestly feel that way, and still stay; for some reason unknown to you, you'll begin to fish differently!

You won't have the confidence to continue doing what you're best at, anymore ~ and without any real reason you can put your finger on; you'll start to fish frantically, trying to catch up; doing everything wrong; ending up, by accomplishing absolutely nothing!

Sound familiar?

THAT can begin a downward confidence slide that just has no bottom! And, it can instantly end a promising tournament career, or even an avocation, IF you let it!

Believe it or not; is as easy as pie to stop that from happening! IF If only you can just learn to believe in yourself again!

Just try this:

As soon as possible after you've had a BAD TOURNAMENT; go to a small pond, or to a really good small lake, that you're extremely familiar with; and have never had a bad day fishing on.

Fish alone!

Take only one rod ~ an ultralight!

Never take more than two lures ~ lures that have to be cast & retrieved!

If you take your bass boat: Never, under any condition, start your "big motor"!

DO NOT take a phone in the boat!

Leave the radio at home!

Leave everything behind!

DO NOT think about anything other than what you’re doing right now ~ fishing!

Just go out & catch some fish ~ any kind/size of fish that’ll attack a lure!

By the end of the day, you'll see that it'll totally rebuild that crushed ego of yours! If you can leave the water with nothing more than a smile on your face; that's fantastic!! If you can leave the water, giggling like a young school kid that just got away with some sort of mischief; you'll really know it's back!


The guy that taught me that; had a small lake in his backyard. It became "my place" to go, whenever I'd had a bad tournament! I'd go there and fish out of his two-man "bass-buggy" with a little 12V trolling motor on it. I'd fish with an ultralight outfit, and a single little 1/8 oz. spinnerbait. If I didn't catch at least 100 fish in a couple of hours; I just wasn't fishing.

Every time I went; I'd leave his place giggling like a school kid ~ every time! The next tournament I'd fish, would always seem to be just a continuation of the fun I'd had there!

What happened? I just added back; the one thing, that over time; I took completely out of the sport ~ the fun!

It's something we all do/did, without ever thinking twice about it ~ making the sport of fishing, into work; instead of just enjoying the time w spent doing it!

The confidence in yourself, and your own fishing abilities; is an awfully fragile thing to try to keep intact all the time! Once in a while, it just needs a little help! This is one simple way of doing just that!

Over the years, I've passed on that same advice to many other tournament fishermen that I’ve mentored or sponsored. It's worked for all of them; and believe me, if you let it; it'll work for you as well. It can make a huge difference in the way you feel about yourself! THAT in turn, makes a big difference in the way you fish!

If you can’t remember all of what I’ve just told you; just remember: K.I.S.S. ~ M.I.F.

(Keep it simple stupid! Make it FUN!)

Good Fishin'!
Dennis Bryant ( The Fishin' Professor )

- Contact Dennis with your questions or comments at TheFishingProfessor@bassonhook.com

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