UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Hartwell

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut
Darrell Davis

Now that it’s the middle of January, I’ve had some time to think about and reflect on 2019. Overall, it was a good year. Actually, it was a GREAT year. I had some great success tournament fishing, and I got to marry my best friend, Tammy.

There were certainly some bumps in the road, but that’s how fishing goes. It’s an up-and-down sport, and the only way to level out the low spots and stay ahead is to be confident and fish smart, which is what I want to talk about here – my journey in 2019 and what I learned.

I started off the FLW Tour season strong on Sam Rayburn. I had a terrible practice, but come tournament time I put some things together that landed me only 8 ounces short of a check. While it was tough to miss out by that margin, I knew it was a decent start to the points race.

Then came the Kissimmee Chain event, which is one I’ll remember forever. From watching the big one wake my Reaction Innovations Trixie Shark (learn more about fishing one at this link) to watching the winning fish come off at the boat, that event taught me a lot about resilience and emphasized what I’ve always believed, which is to fish to your strengths. I did exactly that and almost won the whole thing. I can confidently say I would do everything the same if I could do it all over.

The next several tournaments were pretty good. I cut a check at two of them and came pretty darned close at the others. Fast-forward to the last event of the year, and my No. 1 nemesis: Lake Champlain.

I was 26th in points going into the tournament and only had to make the top 105 to earn my way into the FLW Cup. So I was feeling pretty good about my chances. Fishing deep for smallmouth bass isn’t my strong suit. Because of that, in the past I’ve ALWAYS made the run down to Ticonderoga. And every single time, I’ve bombed. Every. Single. Time. But in the past, I always told myself to fish to my strengths, and Ticonderoga is where the largemouth bass are.

For some reason, this year I second-guessed myself. I’d heard from someone that it was tough down on Ti (which I knew it always was), and that with the wind it was going to be a miserable one-hour run down there and back. Initially, I didn’t let this sway me. I was going to go, but then for some reason I changed my mind. I decided to play it a bit safe and stay up north and fish.

In tournament fishing, you can beat yourself up for days with the “what if” scenarios that cause you to second-guess your gut. Well, in this case, I guessed wrong. I finished the Lake Champlain event in 145th place. It knocked me all the way down to 60th in points and out of Cup contention.

In my 15 years on the circuit, if I’ve learned anything, it’s NOT to second-guess myself. You make your best-educated and informed decision, fish to your strengths, and accept the consequences. I didn’t do that at Champlain. You probably already know the tournament was won down in Ticonderoga. As a matter of fact, the majority of the top 10 came out of Ti. I’m not gonna lie, it hurt my heart a bit to watch weigh-in as my dreams of fishing the Cup vanished every time someone new came in ahead of me.

The experience certainly solidified a few things for me. Listen to your gut. I almost never let someone else talk me out of fishing to my strengths, but I did that week. Also, always stay humble. Even though I dropped out of qualification for the Cup, I represented myself and my sponsors well, and the feedback I received from all over the country after Champlain was overwhelmingly positive. I heard from folks I hadn’t spoken to in years. I heard from so many that the way I handled defeat touched them and taught them a lesson. No less than 10 people approached me at ICAST to tell me how my social media post about the experience affected them, and that they were proud of me. And that, friends, is what I’ll take away from this experience into the new year.

Now, I’m looking forward to doing some great things, fishing to my strengths and trusting my gut as we get the 2020 FLW Pro Circuit season started. If I do that, then I know all the right things will happen.  

Tags: darrell-davis  blog 

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Despite the solid start to the year, and the confidence that comes with overcoming adversity, Miles Burghoff knows very well how a good start to a season can either create positive momentum, or open the door to complacency, which often can result in a loss of motivation and focus. With the Harris Chain event kicking off this week, he's determined to keep that focus and motivation. READ MORE »

New Year, Same Feel

New Year, Same Feel

Ending 2019 on a bad note wasn’t how I pictured last season going. I was in contention to qualify for the FLW Cup going into the last FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain, but after coming in 97th at the finale I finished the season 51st in the Angler of the Year points and missed my chance for the Cup. Not going to lie, it stung a little bit and made for a LONG drive home, but it also made me hungry for 2020. READ MORE »

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Josh Douglas and his wife, Bri, created this baller recap video from Sam Rayburn and the first Pro Circuit event of 2020. In the video, which includes footage from practice and the tournament, Josh dishes on how he used his practice time to eventually uncover a productive trap pattern that helped him earn a 42nd-place finish, which is a big improvement on the 114th he posted at Rayburn in the 2019 FLW Tour event. READ MORE »

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

People talk a lot about the offseason in professional bass fishing, but when you do this for a living you pretty quickly realize there really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. READ MORE »

New Challenges, New Opportunities

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Now with 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 is in the crosshairs, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With the rebranding of the Tour to the new FLW Pro Circuit, there are some great new opportunities that both fans and competitors will benefit from. READ MORE »

Why I Chose FLW

Why I Chose FLW

My name is Richard Dunham, but most people know me as Dicky D. I currently live in Palm Harbor Florida where I work for the Folsom Corporation, one of the largest fishing distributors in the country. In 2020 I am fishing as a boater in Southern Division of the FLW Series. READ MORE »

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the (not so) calm before the storm before the tournament season kicks off down south in January. READ MORE »

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

Following a great season in 2019, I just signed up for the FLW Pro Circuit for 2020. Foremost, I’m excited about the opportunities that are being provided by MLF and FLW. I see overall growth in the platform as we strive to be a bigger and better industry. READ MORE »

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

For the past several years, the FLW Foundation has been working diligently on a mission to introduce young people to their local natural resources. One strategy employed by the Foundation is to host free youth fishing derbies across the country. READ MORE »

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

One of the easiest and most controllable ways to save time and be efficient on the water is to keep tackle organized and accessible. Hard baits are easy to organize in Plano boxes, but soft plastics can sometimes cause a bit of a headache. Here are some tips for doing it based on how I go about tackling the issue.  READ MORE »

How to Land More Bass

How to Land More Bass

My technique for fighting a bass depends significantly on the equipment – my Dobyns rod, Ardent reel, Seaguar line and Cornerstone Baits – that I’m using at the time. READ MORE »

God, Grace, Grit

God, Grace, Grit

Life isn’t always easy, and we all find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. But with God, grace and grit we have not only persevered, we have risen. And we are continuing to rise together, and can commit to uplifting one another along the way. No matter what you are going through on or off the water, know that with God, grace and grit, but most of all God, anything is possible. READ MORE »

How to Prepare for Big Water 

How to Prepare for Big Water 

As many of you know, fishing big water for giant smallmouths is my favorite type of fishing. Competing on the Great Lakes, 1000 Islands, St. Clair, Champlain and other big Northern fisheries is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it gets rough, which is why it’s critical that you have the correct equipment and understand how to use it. READ MORE »

How to be a Pro Angler 

How to be a Pro Angler 

I get a lot of questions from young and old anglers alike about the steps to becoming a pro. I guess maybe sometimes I take it for granted. The process seems somewhat obvious to me. How to execute on it might not be simple, but the steps you need to take really are. There are only a couple of ways to get into this sport, and they all start at the grassroots level, in $200 and $300 tournaments.  READ MORE »

Introducing Myself

Introducing Myself

I want to start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Pennsylvania about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. I grew up fishing for whatever would bite with my grandfather and in middle school I had a friend who started taking me with his dad down to the Chesapeake Bay. That was my first time ever on a bass boat, and I was immediately hooked! READ MORE »

Riding the Roller Coaster

Riding the Roller Coaster

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, although it seems like the last one was just yesterday. This season has flown by, and I finally have some down time before the last stop on the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain. This Tour season has been full of ups and downs, and I’ve learned a lot. READ MORE »

The History of the Drop-Shot

The History of the Drop-Shot

FLW Tour pro James Niggemeyer recalls his first introduction to the drop-shot, as well as what came before it and how he developed his tackle to have better success with this capable finesse bass bait. READ MORE »

From Dead Last to Making Money

From Dead Last to Making Money

If you were hanging out with me at the FLW Tour event on Seminole recently, you would have thought I won the tournament. I was congratulated by every pro I saw, and they were being genuine. READ MORE »

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Watching giant bags of bass caught down in Texas and Florida on FLW Live during FLW Tour events has many anglers dying to get on the water. The only problem is that a lot of people are still facing some of the toughest conditions for catching a bass – cold, muddy, moving water.   READ MORE »

How to Deal with Dock Talk

How to Deal with Dock Talk

If you fish tournaments or follow tournament fishing, you know about dock talk. It’s the chatter that goes on among bass fishermen during and around tournaments on subjects such as how the fish are biting, what patterns are in play, the weather and just how much of a grind it’s been. Dock talk can be dangerous. It can lead you astray if you listen to the wrong person. It can hurt your confidence if you hear about someone else really catching ’em doing something different. It can distract you from your game plan and your goals. Dock talk rarely gives you the complete story. READ MORE »