UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2017 - Old Hickory Lake

The Fishing Mind

Before a professional bass angler even begins to practice-fish for a tournament, the thinking process has begun. These processes do not end until the angler makes his last cast of the day of the tournament that he is fishing. The following will attempt to show the natural order of these preparations so an angler can achieve maximum efficiency and a successful tournament overall.

As a professional angler, the fisherman usually has his tournament schedule for the next year at least one year in advance, if not more. Having the schedule of tournaments allows the angler to prepare for the upcoming tournaments ahead of time. The planning begins with hotel reservations, boat slips to be rented, maps of the tournament waters to be acquired, driving routes to be planned as well as a host of other things. As well as planning accommodations for the tournament, the angler needs to decide if he should pre-fish the lake prior to practice times. Should the angler go to the lake weeks in advance to check out the lake in regards to boat launches, structure and fishing patterns? In contrast, looking ahead and planning future tournaments while involved in the current season can have a negative impact as an angler can lose concentration during his current tournaments. An angler needs to attempt to concentrate on the tournament at hand and to allow other time to plan the details of future tournaments. An angler needs to continuously plan while fishing in tournaments, and this must be consistent throughout the years of his fishing.

To start the tournament preparation procedure, the professional angler starts by learning as much as he can about the body of water he is fishing. With a lake map in hand, an angler can contact the local bait shops, guides or friends who live in the area to find out all he can concerning the lake. Things like water conditions, water levels, what the fish are doing, what the fish are biting and where the fish may be are all questions one would want to ask. Local knowledge is a much-debated issue concerning the tournament professional angler. Once the angler has the information, he needs to decide how much he will rely on the information and how much he will find out on his own. The most important aspects of preparation are that anglers know the time of year and study a map of the lake carefully.

Most professional anglers can look at a map, know what calendar phase fish are in (i.e. pre-spawn, spawn, post spawn, etc.), and determine what areas in that body of water are going to be the most productive for that given tournament. This helps the angler eliminate the unproductive water before even going out in a boat. Once an angler has some experience, his on-the-water intuition comes into play allowing him to make smart decisions. Most of the bodies of water fished in professional tournaments are quite vast. Eliminating the unproductive waters will give the angler and advantage over other anglers.

The next important part of planning for a tournament involves decision-making. This is where the true professional really shines. Professional anglers who make the correct decisions based on map study, weather conditions, lay of the land, fishing pressure, wildlife activity and, most importantly, on-the-water decisions are always going to be at the top of the tournament leader board. An angler needs to determine how much time he needs to practice a tournament and how much time it will take to get all the needed information about the lake. Practice time and preparation, whether it be a few days or a few weeks is really what makes or breaks the angler's tournament catch. Practice time must be used efficiently to yield the best possible result. An angler needs to make the most of all his time throughout the year. A professional angler is making a living at fishing the tournament trail, and time management is of most importance.

Once the practice and preparation period is over, the angler needs to decide which steps he will take to be the most productive during a tournament. The angler needs to concentrate on what he has learned and focus in on what he thinks would be the best places to fish. The mental strain on an angler begins with the preparation and does not end until the tournament is over. He must have full concentration and focus in order to become "one with the fish" and do the best that he can in the tournament. He must learn to use his time wisely and constantly plan each hour and even each minute of every day. This also occurs for a professional angler even when he is not in an actual tournament, but when he might be on the road doing seminars or even at home planning for the next tournament.

During the tournament day the angler has to keep an upbeat and positive attitude so as to fish as effectively as possible. If a fisherman allows himself to get down and let negative thoughts invade his mind, then he is shot and most likely will not fish well. In a multi-day event it is imperative for the professional angler to keep an upbeat attitude throughout the entire tournament. He must not allow what the other anglers say affect him negatively or influence his game plan. A professional angler must always stick to what he knows first and let his on-the-water experiences guide him when change is necessary. The point is to be always thinking and observing. When this is accomplished consistently, then you are going to fish your best.

At the conclusion of the tournament, many emotions are going through the angler's head. There may be feeling of euphoria because of a good tournament, or there may be a dejected feeling for not doing as well as one would like. Any way you look are it, there will be a feeling of letdown when the tournament is over. The competitive professional angler has the feeling of an adrenaline rush throughout the tournament and when it is over the feeling is gone. The angler now moves on to anticipate the next tournament and the process begins again.

The professional fisherman is more than an ordinary fisherman. He is a thinking man who does much more than just go out and try to catch fish. Each tournament needs to be well thought out in order for the angler to do his very best. The way in which the angler uses the preparations, thought processes and the mechanical aspects if catching fish creates the professional bass angler.

Tags: terry-baksay  performance-psychology 


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