Mental Fishing – Becoming a Competitive Angler Fish with Purpose

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MentalBlogWhat truly separates the casual angler from the competitive anglers we see on television or speeding down the lake in their fancy paid-for boats? I believe truly competitive anglers separate themselves from the rest of us in their approach to the mental side of the sport.

I will give a few mental game ingredients a Pro brings to the table.

#1 Pro’s have perfected something crucial to the sport. For most Pro’s that is a technique, but others have perfected utilizing technology to find fish better and faster than others. There are pro’s out there that are extremely good and a wide variety of techniques. I work with one professional bass fisherman who said he was most accomplished at casting. He caught fish others couldn’t get to because his ability to cast a lure was significantly better than his competitors. He could say he was any better than most when it came to retrieving the lure, but “his fish” were pretty much his to catch thanks to his ability to make long, accurate, and creative casts.

Application for the casual angler: Start perfecting something!

#2 Pro’s value every cast. This principle is true in its own way across nearly every sport. Basketball coaches preach “valuing every possession” or “valuing the ball” (when we have it, keep it; when we don’t have it, go get it!) My fishing clients know I spend a lot of time working with golfers and tell me they value every cast like a professional golfer values every putt. If you are a casual fisherman and want to start to understand the world the professionals live in, fish every cast like it is your last cast of the day.
This principle has a trickle down affect on everything a pro does!

It means they pay great attention to what might appear to be meaningless things. The care of their boat is paramount. The condition of their equipment is critical. Knots they tie are essential. Hook-sets and reducing opportunities for the fish to fight his way off the hook are turned into an art form. Proper, efficient use of the trolling motor and skilled positioning of the boat are foundational to success. Valuing every cast means valuing everything that goes into making that cast worth retrieving.

Application for the casual angler: Start paying attention to things that go into making every cast worth retrieving.

#3 Pro’s fish with a purpose. In practice they are gathering information and understanding the habitat they will be on for several days in a row. They want to find large populations of bass within that habitat. Some are looking for how their perfected techniques work within that habitat. They are paying attention to weather forecasts and using their experience to explore what those changes will do to the fish. Then, when it is time to fish, their focus is all about executing their strategy and making adjustments. It is problem solving in real time with their livelihood at stake.

Application for the casual angler: Have a purpose when you get on the water. Whether to just have fun or try to get better at some aspect of fishing; do it with a purpose and you will be rewarded.

Want to find your fishing purpose? Visit