The Road to Better Fishing - One Thing at a Time

The majority of anglers that fish for fun and in tournaments tend to have at least one thing in common, they almost all own a very wide variety of baits yet they tend to fish only a small portion of the baits that they own time and time again. The reason for this behavior is that we all fish techniques and baits that we have confidence in and we tend not to venture outside of our comfort zone especially in a tournament situation. One of the keys to becoming a better angler is to become a more versatile angler. Simple thing to read and understand yet it is not as simple to accomplish for most of us. Here is an approach that has worked for me and has paid off time and time again for me over the past eighteen months.

        When I get ready to start my "practice" period before a large tournament I break down my efforts into two separate categories. The first category that I focus on is "Research & Implementation" or better put just "One Thing at a Time". I would look at an event and see what types of baits and patterns have worked in the past at the same time of year where the event will take place. I will then create a list that outlines the types of baits that have proven to be winners in the past and rank my current skills in fishing those baits. This ranking is very important because that is the basis of the entire plan going forward. So a sample ranking might look as follows:

1.      Jigs - Current Ability: Poor

2.      Carolina Rig - Current Ability: Poor

3.      Spooning - Current Ability: Poor

4.      Jerk Baits - Current Ability: Fair

5.      Crank Baits - Current Ability: Good

6.      Spinner Baits - Current Ability: Good

So from the above list you now have a blueprint on what exactly you should focus on prior to the event and especially prior to the start of your actual "pre-fishing" on the tournament waters. So now that you have a plan how do you execute your plan to become a more versatile angler? The answer is simple yet the discipline to accomplish your plan is one area where your focus needs to be in order to improve your chances of success. Now all you need to do is go out on the water on focus on just "One Thing at a Time".

Execution of the "One Thing at a Time" approach to fishing requires that you focus on each area where you ranked yourself lowest in terms of current abilities. Step one would be to get out on the internet and read articles on the technique and/or baits that you need the most improvement on and creating a simple brief list of what is common among all of the various articles. Step two requires the most discipline because you should ONLY fish those techniques and/or baits that you need improvement in until such time as you feel certain that your abilities and confidence in those techniques and/or baits has improved by a substantial margin. I personally use the "limit rule" as my measurement on my progress in improving my ability to fish certain techniques and/or baits; I just go out on the water and grind it out time and time again until I have had a few trips out where I have caught a limit. I then see the dramatic improvement in both my abilities and confidence and then I move on to my next area of weakness! Over time using this approach you will improve your overall arsenal of techniques and baits that will make you a better angler on any lake at any time!

Good luck and good fishing!