WINNING AND LOSING - TOURNAMENT BASS TIPS
Winning and Losing
by Randy Blaukat
I’ve always said that professional bass fishing is the most difficult sport in the world. Most people who live outside this world and have not experienced it probably question that statement. The veterans of this sport know exactly what I’m talking about.
For a moment, let’s forget about the issues that make it so difficult, and let’s discuss the real reason professional fishing is the most difficult sport in the world: the emotional challenge that everyone deals with regarding the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Depending on the mysterious combination of your own skill set and what the universe throws your way, you might experience the thrill of victory or success more than the agony of defeat and bad breaks, or vice versa. Some anglers seem to rarely get the experience of victory or success, and are mired in the lows. But most professional anglers lead careers somewhere in the middle.
To me, in the modern world of 2017 pro fishing, victory or success on the FLW Tour is making the top 50 and coming home with at least $10,000. Anything above that is a bonus.
This is not to say I don’t enter each event with the intention of winning or making the top-20 cut. I’ve won events and qualified for a lot of championships, and made more than $1.5 million in fishing. I know what success feels like.
But when you are competing against the top 160-plus anglers in the world, and have countless uncontrolled variables standing in your way, winning is elusive, even for the best anglers.
Making a top 50 is a proud accomplishment unless you are one of the few anglers such as Andy Morgan, Wesley Strader or Bryan Thrift, who are simply on a different level than the other 158 or so anglers in each Tour event. Failures, in their minds, could be considered successes in most anglers’ minds. So-so seasons, in their minds, are career years in many other anglers’ worlds.
Given this, tournament anglers must learn how to deal with success and failure relative to their own expectations.
I’ll use my last two events as examples of this.
At Beaver Lake last month I was able to make the cut after day two, sitting in sixth place entering Saturday’s semi-final round.
Much of this was due to a 5-pound hawg I caught in the afternoon on day two. This fish bit on light line, and immediately wrapped me up in a cedar tree. All I could do was keep tension on the line as I buzzed to it with my trolling motor. When I got there, she was hung up about 3 feet underwater on a limb. Fortunately, I was able to get her in the net while she was still underwater.
The moment she came in the boat, the endorphins that all tournament anglers live for kicked in. As I took her out of the net, my heart was pounding, my awareness was at peak levels and I knew that fish locked me into the top 20. It’s the best feeling in the world.
When you reach this point of success during a tournament day, there is an emotional, mental and spiritual shift in your consciousness. Some anglers are fortunate to get to experience it more than others. It’s powerful; almost addictive. It’s the same feeling you get when you win an event, only the circumstances are different.
It’s this thrill of a victory or momentary success that drives every tournament angler. Fishing is an art form – no different than singing, painting or acting. You seek perfection in your art form, whatever it may be, and when you experience it to whatever level, it makes you feel alive.