UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Fighting for inches: The mental game & Okeechobee

Todd Hollowell searches for a Lake Okeechobee kicker.

(Editor's note: Starting immediately, FLW Tour pro Todd Hollowell has agreed to make regular blog contributions approximately once a month on FLWOutdoors.com. Going forward, bass-fishing fans will be treated to a wide array of blogs from a host of different FLW Tour pros on FLWOutdoors.com leading up to the 2014 season and beyond.)

Our first FLW Tour event from Lake Okeechobee is now in the books, and the season is under way. When I received my text from FLW with the results from day one showing me in 142nd place, it was obvious that it wasn't exactly the way I had envisioned my season starting off. I lost one big fish early that morning that would have put me in the top 25.

After finishing 117th at Okeechobee in 2013 and having missed qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup by only 14 points, I realized that one more fish last year would have made all the difference. Suddenly, I was facing the fact that Okeechobee may sting me again in 2014. The mental game of fishing plays a tremendous role in why some anglers succeed consistently. There's not a worse feeling than having to return messages, calls, and e-mails to family, friends, and supporters after a bad day or a bad event. The feeling that you have let them down and disappointed them sometimes even embarrasses yourself. So what thoughts go through your head when this happens? How do you bounce back? Can you bounce back? Will you bounce back?

A few months ago, my brother and fellow FLW Tour Pro, Troy Hollowell, shared with me a speech from Al Pacino in the movie "Any Given Sunday" that talked about football being a game of inches. That really hit home with me, and I've been able to relate that speech to fishing and to life as a whole. Every day, we are faced with challenges and adversity. And in this sport of professional bass fishing, the competition is fierce and the margin for error is razor-thin. It's the toughest game I've ever played - mentally speaking. One missed bite, one broken line, one wrong decision - they can all be the difference between getting paid and going home with nothing. So you have to be ready for opportunities, and you have to trust that those opportunities will come to you.

On day two, I made a commitment to fight for every inch I could. With about 90 minutes of fishing time left, I had a stout 8-pound limit and was facing another poor finish on Okeechobee. I had scrambled around trying to make the right adjustment, and it finally happened at 2 p.m. that day. I moved to an area where I had caught some keepers in practice but hadn't visited on tournament day. And on my first cast I landed a 7-pound fish on a River Rat Tackle Swim Jig that changed the course of the day. I caught two more key fish in the next 30 minutes and made a move to 77th place overall, sneaking away with a check and some valuable points. I packed up the Red Gold Tomatoes truck and boat and headed to practice for the next event at Lake Hartwell - it's what we do.

Sometimes, some of the smallest victories are the most important - and recognizing those victories can unlock the key to allowing more victories into your life. Life is indeed a game of inches, and so is fishing. So as I reflect on the first event, I know that I fought for those inches. I believe that at the end of the season those inches will make the difference in qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup.
Don't underestimate the power of the mental game of fishing and of life. It can make all the difference in the world.

Todd Hollowell has fished as a pro on the FLW Tour since the 2012 season and is currently the host of the Bass Dr. television show on the World Fishing Network (WFN). To read more about Todd Hollowell and his latest exploits, check out his website toddhollowell.com.

Tags: todd-hollowell  blog 

/tips/2016-02-12-fishing-the-all-american

Fishing the All-American

My wish is that everyone who competes in BFL tournaments will get to experience the All-American. It truly is an amazing experience, and a goal that everyone who competes on the weekends should strive to achieve. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-11-eric-jackson-q-a

Eric Jackson Q&A

We caught up with Jackson just prior to his Tour debut on Lake Okeechobee to learn more about his background in the outdoors and how he got started in tournament fishing. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-11-flw-podcast-111-bradley-hallman

FLW Podcast 111 - Bradley Hallman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-05-an-ill-wind-at-okeechobee-

An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-04-aquatic-plant-id

Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-03-flw-podcast-110-jt-kenney-and-kyle-monti

FLW Podcast 110 - JT Kenney and Kyle Monti

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-poche-services-set

Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-time-to-shine-for-setzer

Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-01-ambassador

Ambassador

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-29-glenn-browne-s-timeout-is-over-

Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-flw-podcast-109-mike-surman

FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-john-cox-gives-himself-a-makeover

John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-austin-felix-is-ready-for-the-big-time

Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-flw-canada-sets-tournament-sites-dates

FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-26-jigging-spoons-for-winter-bass

Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-24-how-bryan-thrift-got-to-be-so-good

How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-high-school-fishing-makes-the-grade

High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-flw-mexico-at-the-starting-gate

FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-making-the-case-for-haynes-as-aoy

Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-21-flw-podcast-108-jason-lambert

FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert

READ MORE »