Confidence. I’m amazed how much this mental trait affects my fishing and the patterns I follow and the dead ends I catch myself going down. I watch others struggle with this issue, too. Have it and you can keep on keeping on for quite awhile in spite of poor results. Lose it and the wheels seem to come off pretty quickly.
Have you noticed that if you don’t have confidence in a certain lure that it can take a whole lot of persuasion to overcome the mental resistance to even try it? What’s up when you tell a buddy that you just killed the fish on a certain lure he doesn’t like – one he hasn’t even tried, but flat out tells you it doesn’t work for him. What?
I find that my brain can be pretty dogmatic, too, and that upsetting my current preconceived ideas can be an issue all its own. Yes, it can be much easier to not try anything new, especially if your deep-seated confidence is in denial about what’s going on!
Don’t get me wrong, confidence is key to any level of success, but at times I get into a rut and my confidence turns to something that I should know better than to depend on. Like trying topwater when the fish are deep and it’s freezing. I admit it, fishing an old familiar pattern sure makes you feel good, even when you know it’s not working. Going back to square one and having to do the mental work of figuring out what you should be doing can be a real drag – and it’s a humbling admission something needs to change.
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At times I amaze myself because I’ve got at least 500 lures onboard, and yet I find myself getting stuck on just three or four! It strikes me that just 6 months ago I had been using and depending on a whole different set of lures, but somehow, suddenly my confidence had waned and another one had taken over the top confidence spot.
Have you noticed that one good trip with a lure or color and your whole world can rotate in a new direction? It becomes a love affair with the new stuff. You can clearly see yourself catching every fish in the area. I watch other anglers quietly tell me about some new super lure, and I can smell the certainty in which they feel they have found the “answer.”
Overconfidence. You can get so focused it almost becomes a disease – that is until it stops working. It always happens and your happy place gets pierced. So, off you go looking for the solution and some new confidence.
I feel that confidence can be both an asset or big liability for anglers. Why is it that I hear anglers make statements like “I’m a jerkbait fishermen” but I never troll because it doesn’t work for me? This person is obviously confident in his ability as a jerkbait angler but unwilling to build confidence in another arena. Some are threatened by this.
I also have found myself resisting doing the logical thing just because it didn’t fit my perception of what I felt “I do.” When I finally got disgusted enough to change, knowing I should have done it sooner, life is easier and results improve. Delayed intelligence strikes again. Ouch!
My points: First, looking at this issue analytically I could see that my confidence levels can change pretty quickly. There were times when it seemed I made a 90-degree turn, all because of a sudden success. Secondly, I didn’t let the unknowns keep me from going full steam ahead; I was in love.
Third, once my confidence grew a little, I tended to return to the new lure – even when it wasn’t working! Maybe it would be resurrected? Fourth, it took awhile for the flame to die, losing hope in my choice. Funny, I would keep poking it, hoping it wasn’t dead yet! Fifth, once I lost my confidence in it, I tended to put it out of mind and into the “used to be good” category.
Conclusion: As an angler, my confidence levels are best served with a generous helping of humble pie. I find it’s usually easier to swallow that way! Never give up!