My recent trip to Alaska made it clear that I take for granted all the things that I do in my world that are built around years of repetition. The usual sights, sounds and smells that we experience are all a part of how we feel each time we hit the water, and our fishing decisions are more automatic than I think we realize.
My first experience up there was stressful because I felt I was doing downright stupid things only a newbie would do, and I had no regular pattern to rely on. All my regular cues were missing. I think all of us have these kind of thoughts when we’re not confident or comfortable. However, getting out of my normal groove turned out to be a great learning experience. It was also humbling.
All my senses were messed up in Alaska because everything was different. I wasn’t used to the environment, the area, how it smelled, the ocean conditions, how we fished, the type of boat and gear. Just about everything needed to be recalibrated for my senses to feel normal. You don’t trust your instincts when you’re out of sync, nothing feels right and your cues don’t work.
Getting comfortable meant a lot more than just catching a fish. I needed time to process all the information that was flooding my senses so that I could make sense of what I needed to do – and make it part of my new system. It took three intense fishing days before it began to gel for me.
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My trip made it obvious to me that I rely a lot more on my feelings and automatic responses than I would have ever believed possible. I have to consider: When I’m on the water, am I concentrating on what I’m doing right now? or am I actually mentally fishing a past “pet” situation, trying to get it to feel right and fit what I’m doing now? Maybe the answer is that sometimes, it’s a little of both.
The “genie” in our minds is incredible. It can take over your decisions – or you can put it to work. You’re the master. Just be careful what you wish for.
Never give up!