“Fishing With Confidence” It can take several years to build up your fishing confidence and only one bad day on the water to break it down and doubting every decision you make further on – Bennie Wiese
From experience one will realize that building confidence is a gradual process. Like everything else it is all about time and place. Fishing in many different situations all over the country, at different times of the year, and competing against different anglers is part of the process. Having a reliable information network will also be to your advantage. Also pay attention to how bad you did and compare it with how good your buddies did on the same venue. By just listening to what they are saying on how they were fishing, where and what they were doing can give you clues to what you have done wrong.
I will analyze my day’s fishing to try and figure out what I have done wrong and what I should do differently. I make mental notes and then apply it the next day or during my next trip at the same venue. Having another ace card up my sleeve will boost my confidence, but make no mistake, if you do not apply this knowledge it won’t do anything for you confidence. You are most likely to discard the information instead of improving your skills.
There are pros and cons in trying to compete in fishing tournaments. Imagine you are all hyped up to go and fish the next event and the worse happen; you don’t even finish close to the top positions. Mixed emotions will run through your mind; ‘why did I think I’m good enough for this level; why did I embarrass myself like this to compete against top anglers?” and so you will break down your confidence in a matter of seconds.
If you do want to fish in the big leagues then don’t set yourself up for failure. Know what you are getting yourself into from the start and know who you are up against. Yes, by doing well you will boost your confidence big time but you will have to maintain your success to keep it there. By setting yourself alternative goals you will maintain your confidence as well. For instance if I’m fishing a local Cast-for-Cash tournament where the rules are that there is no size limit, I set my goal of getting my limit with a minimum size of 300mm. I will not
keep anything smaller than that. Doesn’t matter how difficult the fishing is, because I believe once you get your limit you naturally will relax a bit and lose your focus.
When you weigh-in bigger fish and you see other anglers weighing smaller fish your confidence will go through the roof. And even if don’t win you will see that you did something right. Any time when you go out fishing your number one goal should be to get a minimum size limit and in doing so your skill will be improving a lot. It doesn’t matter who the angler is and what his skills are, if he does not have confidence in his abilities he will not perform. But know this; your confidence can be perfect and your skills are what are needed, you can still come off the water with no limit. Then you should be able to realize what the problem was. The bass might have had locked jaw, then you can’t lose faith in yourself, keep your confidence up and learn from that experience.
There are a few ways to help you build confidence. When you are really serious about competing, you will have to do your homework, prefish, study your weather forecast, trust in your own skills as an angler and you will get there. But always remember one thing; once you’ve reached your goal and had a few wins there is only one way to go and that is down. If you allow your confidence to deflate because you’ve lost a few competitions it will be so much harder to get back on top. Very few can keep up with being on top all the time and if you are like me who has to work for a living it will be very difficult to go pre-fish all the time. The only way to be on top all the time is to be basically living on the water and not everyone is able to do that.
Lastly, keep doing what you are doing, work hard, keep yourself positive and you will get there.
*Bennie Wiese is the editor of SA Bass magazine and an experienced provincial bass angler.
It can take several years to build up your fishing confidence and only one bad day on the water to break it down and doubting every decision you make further on.