Confidence = Success = Confidence
Leon Bartropp offers some sage advice...
I get many emails and messages through social media from anglers from all walks of life, fishing lots of different types of waters and at different stages of their angling journey, looking for advice in their fishing. The most popular questions I get asked comes from the angler that is looking for advice on why they are in a rut with their fishing and can’t catch a carp to save their lives. What am I doing wrong? What rigs should I be using? What is a certain bait like, and will this all solve my blanking?
On further correspondence they mostly inform me that they read the mags and follow certain people on Facebook. From all the pictures that get put up or that they see in the monthlies, it seems as if everyone is constantly catching, so what are they doing wrong and can I please help?
Firstly, it’s a privilege that so many anglers out there feel that I can help them. It’s a buzz you don’t get from anything else when people trust you with your experience. For all of us, it is not an easy thing to ask someone for help, especially in such a male-orientated sport like fishing where you have to be seen to be catching and successful.
As we get further into the correspondence I explain to something of a shocked response that all anglers – the gifted, the downright persistant and the ones that could catch a carp in a bathtub – go through patches of not catching. Even the top one per cent of our sport, like Terry Hearn, Simon Crow and Dave Lane who are definitely in the catch-in-a-bathtub group, are not always hauling great big chunks across their nets and holding them up for the cameras. Yes, they catch more than their fair share, and so they should. They just have the knack, they have that sixth sense and, above all, they work damned hard! That is also why they have successfully landed deals with some our top fishing companies.
It seems that a lot of anglers out there who read the mags, take the advice from all forms of literature, buy the items of tackle and bait that they have taken a decision on through reading the articles, go to their venues and don’t do as well as they thought they would. Then what happens is that doubts start to creep into the mindset; we are all human after all, and this is a natural reaction for anyone. The cycle then repeats itself with more bait and tackle, new rigs, etc., and along the way we may catch a few, and so on and so forth.
So, how can we turn this around and become more consistent in our fishing, apart from actually fishing lakes with an abundance of the fish we want to catch. Believe me, I sometimes get questions like “Why am I not catching a 40lb fish in the lake?” or “Why can’t I catch a fish from this lake?” Sometimes it’s just the fact that there isn’t a 40lb-plus fish in the lake, or there aren’t lots and lots of fish, so we have to be mindful that what we set out to achieve is actually achievable.
On the whole, though, unless someone is doing something drastically wrong in their fishing, they aren’t actually doing anything wrong at all. As the title of this piece says – all we need is that confidence in our fishing to breed success, which will give us even more confidence!
So, how do we gain that confidence? I can tell you now it’s not through purchasing the latest items of tackle or the latest wonder bait. We have to get that confidence from within. What I do when I reply to these guys and girls who are having problems in their fishing is find out how they are going about their angling, how they are approaching their venues, and a small part of that is what tactics, rigs and components they are using. A lot can be found out from a quick chat and taking the time to listen, and 99 per cent of the time the rigs and bait they are using are spot on. I ask them why they are using a certain hook or a certain bait, and most of the time its because they have caught using these items before. There you go, they are already using a winning formula that is tried and tested! I explain that not everyone catches all the time or it would be called ‘catching’ and not ‘fishing’! I then give them the confidence in their ability and the products they are using that they have caught on before. There is usually no need to change anything. As long as you have a sharp hook and a bait the fish want to eat, it’s all about where you put that trap. I instill in them a belief that they are doing nothing wrong; just keep on keeping on and the rewards will come your way.
They thank me for the time I have spent answering their questions and queries, and tell me they will be in touch about how it’s going and if they need another point in the right direction. I don’t think I’ve had a single person come back to me saying, “I’m still not catching and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” In fact all of them have come back to me within a couple of trips, usually after their latest trip so excited that they have caught one. “Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!” etc.
Now, I didn’t really do anything. What I did do was give them the tools to be confident in their fishing. Their rigs, bait and tackle haven’t changed in any great detail; it was their mindset that was wrong and they had changed that. They had simply become confident in what they were doing, which leads to success, which leads to more confidence.
That is the key to keeping that circle of confidence = success = confidence. That is what the top one per cent have in abundance; they are always confident that they are going to catch, that it’s only a matter of time before they land their target fish. They don’t catch every trip, but they just keep on trying with renewed confidence every trip until they finally do catch what they are after.
If you can crack the confidence factor then you are 99 per cent of the way there in your fishing, and in some respects in achieving what you desire in life, if you apply yourself.
As I’ve said, be under no illusion: no one is catching all the time, as sometimes portrayed in the magazines. Some will always catch more than others just because of their natural ability to do so. You can have the talent, but you also need the mindset to succeed, and a big part of that is having the confidence to succeed in the first place.
To round off this article (which I hope is just a little different to norm and you have enjoyed it) just remember that it only takes one bite and every blank session is one step nearer to catching. Be confident and success will always follow!