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 didnt 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 Id barely known? I had to
make some changes to my reply, but finally, I added the same
advice to him, that Im 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 theres more to it than
just a lot of nothing!
So, if this doesnt 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 wouldnt
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!
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
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.
Take only one rod ~ an ultralight!
Never take more than two lures ~ lures that have to be cast
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 youre doing
right now ~ fishing!
Just go out & catch some fish ~ any kind/size of fish thatll
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
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
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 Ive 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 cant remember all of what Ive just told
you; just remember: K.I.S.S. ~ M.I.F.
(Keep it simple stupid! Make it FUN!)