Have you noticed how resistant to change most of us are? Of course, I’m talking about myself!
It’s just human nature to avoid change because it’s uncomfortable and we don’t want to take the time. It’s also risky, or so we feel, to try something new. What if it doesn’t work? Funny, I’ve handed other anglers a lure that’s been working for me, encouraging them to try it, and you would think I was handing them a rattlesnake! They looked at the new lure as if it was going to mess up a perfectly organized fishing world. They saw it as a huge risk to even try. They just felt safer doing what they’ve always done.
In my decathlon career, I found that it was very easy to keep training the same way for an event, doing what had always worked in the past. I felt good about it and my hope was that there would be a breakthrough down the line. I had fooled myself into thinking that by doing the same things, that I would somehow get different results! And yet, my results screamed at me I wasn’t making the changes needed to get to the next level.
I find that I’ve been guilty of this a lot in fishing, too!
Yes, it’s mentally painful to confront the fact you’re not really getting the results you want. However, deciding you’re going to fix it by doing something different and out of your comfort zone is the acid test for improvement.
The first thing I found I needed to do was to measure what I was doing and decide if it was working. If your goal is to catch big fish, are you actually getting any shots at big ones, or is it just something you’re hoping will happen? I find that most anglers are not willing to actually count and measure their current success rates. You’ll never score if you don’t have a scorecard. The beginning of breakthroughs begins with honest evaluation and parameters.
Second, if, for example, you’re going to try to improve the number of big fish you’re catching, what key thing are you going to do or change? Here’s where you get to sharpen your ax. This goes way beyond just the lures you’re throwing! Maybe it’s changing where you fish, your tactics, techniques, timing, equipment.
The next step of consciously changing old habits to new ones is where the rubber meets the road. It’s way too easy to just keep doing something that’s fairly productive and accepting the mediocre results. Being disciplined enough to do something that’s new is not easy.
Here’s a few simple but effective ways anglers can improve a lot: 1. Learn how to use your electronics; 2. Spend some time just scouting areas; 3. Learn how to read a lake map, and study it; 4. Add a new fishing technique you’ve avoided; 5. Try new lures; 6. Fish new areas; 7. Make a point of fishing with someone you know is very good.
These aren’t rocket-science ideas but rather fundamental areas we often ignore or avoid. Sometimes we get so busy fishing that we never work on our weaknesses. At the end of the day, it’s usually not the fancy lure that’s the difference, but rather the angler who has worked to become good at all the fundamentals.
Never give up!