Confidence is a funny thing

Have you ever wondered why a favorite angler you have watched over the years
has finished so differently? I don't want to mention any names, but I was sitting
here this morning could come up with dozens that were on top of the fishing
world and now are just average anglers on the pro circuit (which is still way better
than the rest of us.) I think that confidence has a lot to do with it. The mind is a
very powerful thing. I am sure we, as humans, have not even begun to grasp its
powers yet. 

I have been asked to write more technical articles, like how to fish a Carolina rig
and how to fish a Texas rig, much like my jerkbait article, and I promise that I
will. However, I needed to write this article for myself. You see, I am suffering
much of this problem right now. So, unfortunately, I can consider myself an
expert on the subject. I feel myself second guessing, not concentrating as much,
and even not enjoying the competition as much. 

With that in mind, I would like to write a few lines on what I think confidence
can do for you: 

At the beginning of this fishing season, I had some really good tournaments.
Granted, I didn't win any, but I was happy with how I finished. I usually don't do
as well during the mid summer tournaments, but I still usually manage to do well
enough. This year I had done so well in the first few that I was beginning to think
that I had a chance in the angler of the year contest or at least better than my
thirteenth place last year. So, I started to worry about how I was going to do
during the mid-summer months and let my mind dwell on my faults rather than
my strengths. I didn't think about how I had finished in the top ten in every
tournament so far this year, I was thinking about how I was going to fall in the
points. What I managed to do was talk myself right out of any contention. I
finished in the lower half of the next five tournaments. What happened to me was
a direct result of lack of confidence. I hope I can turn things around with four
tournaments left, but regardless, I have found it helpful to reflect upon the mental
messages I have been giving myself most recently. 

When you do not believe in yourself, you question your judgment. You're not
sure if you are making the right decision, and you think about moving or staying
in the place you are fishing rather than thinking about the task at hand, and that is
fish THAT cast. If you are thinking about if you should be moving to a different
spot, are you thinking about how your lure is crawling along the bottom, did you
feel that your lure is now hitting a stiffer weed or larger rocks, unless a fish hits
really hard, you probably missed it. Concentration is such a large part of fishing.
If you are thinking about other things you may be missing some weather change
that could help you figure out where the fish are, and what changes you should be
making. I could feel myself panicking if I didn't catch a fish on my first spot or I
got a bad draw for blast off. When I started to panic, I could feel my retrieve
become more rapid. I would make casts knowing that a fish was not going to hit,
and in my head I was wondering how everyone else was catching their fish. The
snowball would just get bigger and my confidence was gone and so went my
ability and everything I had learned. 

The thing I needed to remember was, I know how to fish. I know how to make
the correct adjustments to weather, time of day, time of year. I know to not make
a cast if I don't think I can get a fish on it. I know that I need to have everything
working to outwit the fish, and I definitely know that I am not against the other
competitors. I could care less how they are catching them, it's me against the fish.
When I fish, I almost need a cocky attitude. I need to tell myself that I am
throwing the right thing in the right spot and making the right decisions. 

I need to be there again!

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