Hunting Fishing

What do you do on a bad fishing day? Here’s an idea: Turn it into a positive

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert and guides in the Central San Joaquin Valley.
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert and guides in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

I recently hosted two very successful professional saltwater tournament anglers from San Diego for two days of striper fishing at San Luis Reservoir. We compared a lot of our best ideas, but when they pointedly asked me, “What do you do when you’re catching nothing and it’s a terrible bite?” I had to stop and think.

Their answer: Treat the bad bite as a great opportunity to learn new things, try out new ideas and make the time count for future trips. They suggested that making the mental leap to seeing a bad bite as a good thing, something that could potentially be a game-changer for your fishing, was what true professionals did in that situation.

They pointed out that most anglers are captive to their current patterns and habits and that they don’t think that “not doing good” can be the very thing that causes you to go outside your comfort zone. It’s just human nature to see what looks like failure as just that: failing! That’s what makes shifting your attitude about the lack of current success to one of looking at it as a golden opportunity such an amazingly simple way to differentiate yourself from other fishermen.

This was so true of my decathlon training. I could get frustrated and angry that I had poor results, but it always turned out that these were the times when I learned to relearn and rethink what was going on. I became very proficient at fixing things and knowing what to do to improve, all because of these failure times. I could then view my lack of results dispassionately, seeing it as a chance to fix what I needed to rather than as a negative emotional reaction or mental issue.

My guests said that what makes this such a big deal is that most everyone knows what they should do, but very few actually do it! We hear endless lectures on having good attitudes, but how many folks have them? It’s far easier to keep doing what you’ve always done!

Separate yourself from the crowd, take your bad fishing days and change how you see them and what they can do for you! It’s freeing to realize you can take the lemons you’re getting and make them into some good lemonade that can make all the difference. All because you chose to rethink what seemed to be something bad on the surface. What you learn and whether you improved in some way becomes the real goal each trip.

Never give up!

(P.S. Take your father fishing, and happy Father’s Day!)

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert:, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars