Mental Fishing – Prep for the Big Event – Part 3 The Classic Approaches

Power Pole

MentalBlogSteps One and Two prepare us for the third and final piece of preparation for a Big Event. Step Three: Getting in Character and Staying in Character.
Competitive athletics allows the participant to be like an actor on stage. On stage, you aren’t who you really are. Superman can fly and is bulletproof on stage. Dustin Hoffman once played a woman on the big screen. In fact, he was a more successful actor (actress) in the story than he was trying to play male roles. Competition is not “real life.”

Some of the most famous anglers have an on-water identity that isn’t anywhere close to their off-the-water identity. Kevin VanDam and Skeet Reese may bring a certain intensity and focus and systematic approach to what they are doing on the water. Ike and Swindle may react to the situation at hand and change their strategy twenty times in a day, throwing dozens of different baits and running all over the lake. Those are their on-water personas and may not be who they are off the water.

Who are you on-the-water? If you don’t know the answer to that, then prepping for the Big Event may be difficult. Success for the pros is defined in part by answering this question: Did I fish my way today? If you don’t know who you are in competition, then you cannot have “your way” in mind when you assess things at the end of the day.

Far too often “I” show up in competition rather than the character that will be most successful. For instance, I need to be talkative and creative to be my best in competition. My nature is to turn quiet and predictably safe in competition. The result is never good when I am in that mode. When I am light-hearted and creative (within my general strategy for the day), I am my best.

Fishing offers the angler so many days to try out new identities. You can create imaginary competitions or engage in a wager with a few buddies to set the stage (pun intended) for trying new characters to play while on the water. It won’t take too many tries for you to start finding your niche.
To sum up my three simple steps to preparing for the Big Event, first clearly define how you are going to judge success.

Don’t make it how many fish or the weight of the fish you catch the sole measure of success. Second, know how to get yourself into the Zone. Practice it every time you get on the water. And, finally get in character and stay in character while you are competing.

Do not let distractions, the unexpected, or even failure to catch fish get you out of your on-water identity.

If you do those three things the next time the Big Event comes around, I know you will have more success on the water and will feel better about the experience afterward.

Find your on the water identity, go to