The Mental Aspect of Fishing

My ability to be successful while fishing relies on many factors, but one of the biggest is maintaining the right mentality to do well. Maintaining focus and a positive attitude is very important but difficult at times, and here are a few things that I try to manage to make me focus better on the water:

Maintain your equipment. If I want to run up the lake 20 miles, I need to have confidence my boat will make the run there and back. My rods and reels need to be in good working order -- nothing worse then having to retie on a rod because my reel is in need of oil. Other things like tires on the trailer, trolling motor rope, etc. should be taken care of. Problems happen on the water, and at least I know I have done everything I can to have a good day.

Organize your tackle. You ever decided to change to bait, then to not be able to find it? That’s why it’s important to be organized: Less time searching, more time fishing. Not only does this help me mentally, but it also increases how many casts I can make in a day. Also make sure before each trip that you have everything you need. Do an inventory periodically of what you have. Don’t get caught on the lake without enough of your favorite baits.

Listen to your instinct. A lot anglers say, “I was thinking of going there, but I never did,” when they hear how someone did well in a tournament. Listen and react to this voice inside your head when pre-fishing, especially. Sometimes my instinct has me running all over the place; other times, it has me waiting on the fish to bite. Doing this in pre-fishing helps me focus on what I know works on tournament day. I never like leaving the lake feeling that I should have done this or that.

Nourish your body. I used to not eat much during a fishing day. I just never took the time to stop and eat. I have the same problem with drinking water. Not eating or not drinking can really take a toll on my fishing mentality. I find I can be more focused and positive about my fishing if I eat and drink. Mental toughness takes energy, so supply your body with the calories to help you stay mentally tough. Foods like nuts, granola bars, crackers and fruits work for me -- they don’t weigh me down, help keep the energy levels up.

These are just some of the things I take into consideration before each trip. All of this helps me continue to fish after 1 p.m. on tournament day with no fish.

When you are fighting to catch just one fish, sometimes it is easy to get down on yourself, and this is when you need to be mentally tough and focused, so you can to continue make good decisions on the water and continue fishing.

After all, there’s nothing worse than coming home after a tough week on the water, feeling like I did not do everything I could to weigh in fish.

Written by Bryan McDonough