Monday, November 9, 2009

Get your head in the game

One of the most important aspects being overlooked by a lot of anglers is “mentality”. Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to fishing. It starts with something as basic as focus and the results can literally be night and day. It starts with how much focus you put into your gear before the trip. It may end with that one fatal mistake where you weren’t paying attention. If there was one thing that more anglers need out there is focus.

It sounds simple doesn’t it? But honestly, this is the one test that I still have to master completely as a human and angler. Constant focus is like a super special human power when it comes to fishing. Sometimes it just falls in your lap and you know right where to go and what to throw to nail big fish the size of a truck. Most days however you need focus just to get out alive or beat the skunk off a no fish day. Some trips vary. But for the sake of putting another post in the “rant” section I submit a few basic pointers on something so basic as Focus.

(Above: This is what my brain looks like on some days. If I approach the water carrying all of this mental baggage the results will most likely be dismal.)

The good news is that a lot of anglers fish to get away from the stress that our modern world can provide. The natural setting is peaceful and clears the mind. The serenity can often help break down the major issues or provide solutions where the cluttered mind found none. In these cases it may matter less in regards to catching fish. Getting out is more important. If this sounds like you then “getting out” is where you want to place most of your focus. The poindexter fish facts may just clutter your head.
Then there is another segment of anglers so focused on “catching” that it borders on sheer lunacy. The first thing they do when they reach the water is empty their brain out onto the shoreline. Even common sense is lost along with car keys and any game plan whatsoever. It takes several moments of fumbling with gear, stumbling to the shoreline and flailing a few casts before settling down into a rhythm. Sadly, this resembles my mentality more often than not. There are a few basic tips for both mentalities that are a good foundation to build a better mentality from. I have to remind myself of these tips now and again.

1. Come up with a game plan. It doesn’t have to be set in stone and can change with conditions but having a plan of action to start with will help keep you from going in circles. Walk through the game plan in your head once or twice just to make sure things add up before you waste time with the dry run.

2. Focus on why you are out there. If you are just there to relax…do it. If you are there to fish, fish with intent and knowledge. Learn the facts about the species for both you and the fish.

3. Keep your gear organized and in good condition to avoid a lot of unnecessary problems. Most of my worst moments when fishing are when I have to deal with a problem like old line snarling up or breaking off on fish. This is just one example.

4. Keep your cool. I have seen some fantastic meltdowns on the water. It is always amusing at first glance. But this behavior only leads to self-destruction and sets a poor example for the sport itself. If you lose a fish, get a tangle or something else goes awry understand that is just a part of fishing. Take a deep breath, count to 10, whatever you have to do to get back to casting.

(Above: This is what I wish my brain would look like 24/7. When it all comes together like this the fish practically jump right in the boat.)

Finding the successful pattern to fishing on any given day is really a lot like putting together a puzzle. The wind, cloud cover, air temperature, water temperature, humidity, moon phase, time of year and even time of day can provide pieces of the puzzle. This puzzle, once together will help you figure out everything you need to catch ALL of the fish in that particular lake and stream.

Fish My name fish is Mattsafishbasser fish must fish MUST FISH!

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