It’s easy to go with what worked last year, last week or the day before. Problem is, that rarely works out again as it did before. Conditions change, the fishing changes, heck, like it or not, you change.
Understanding and dealing with those changes is really what tournament fishing is about. First one to make the adjustment to change is often the winner.
It’s an unsettling fact of life as a bass fisherman. But it also applies to other sports and other walks of life. You are as good as your last outing, pitch or at bat. The game, the sport or the fish don’t give you credit for what happened last year or even yesterday.
Tiger’s recent win at the Masters is a good lesson in this. If you could break it down with him, he would detail all of the adjustments he has made over the years and over the course of the tournament itself.
The Role of Practice
Too often as bass fisherman, we want to use practice to establish spots to fish in the tournament. It’s the “Easter Egg” approach to bass fishing. It feeds the notion that there are a limited number of “eggs” out there and a large part of getting mine is dependent on the boat draw and how fast I get there.
Instead of Easter Eggs though, you are fishing for another living thing that reacts, behaves and moves differently hour to hour and day to day.
So while raw boat speed isn’t so important, efficiency is. Otherwise, you waste precious minutes looking for an egg because it was there last time. Let that soak in a minute. What does being “efficient” when it comes to bass fishing mean? It means using the least amount of time, and energy to make the adjustments necessary to catch the five biggest that day.
Practice then should be a chance to get better at that efficiency. Quickly making adjustments on the fly – not so you can uncover locations to go back to but just for the act of practicing making those adjustments at that time of year on that body of water.
Fishing the Moment, Just Go Fishing…
What tournament fisherman have been trying to tell us for years, essentially boils down to the idea of using each fishing day as a series of adjustment making steps.
You see this idea, especially in a multi-day event. Often you see a great day on 1 day and then not-so-much the other. As my dad once told me, “There is no such thing as bad fishing, just bad fisherman.”
You are only as good as your last day of fishing. The last set of adjustments you made or didn’t make.