What’s wrong little buddy? Not performing?
Hey… listen… it happens to all of us once in a while…
Well… not to me, but… you know… it happens to other losers all the time…
HA! Just bustin’ ‘yer chops! Happy Monday my dudes! Crack a smile and grab a coffee; come sit with me for a moment and let’s discuss Fishing Slumps.
They happen to all of us.
They’re freakin’ terrible.
They’re also temporary.
That third part… that’s the tricky part to remember, right?
What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that this too shall pass. I read that somewhere once, in a good book.
The question is… how can we make it pass faster?
By working a simple plan.
So here ya go. This is a Simple 4-Step Plan that will destroy the fishing slump you’re currently in… so you can get back to peak performance! You can do it. I believe in you, big guy!
Step 1: When
Identify when you can go.
We all have limited time. Fishing is a hobby & passion for many of us – not a job. Myself included. This means that time on the lake needs to fit in around faith, family and work. Pop open your calendar and identify a few times that you could get out to fish this week. Right now. Do it. They can be early. They can be late. They can be “bad solunar times”, it doesn’t matter – the simple act of identifying times that you could fish will give you a target to aim for.
Identify when you can go, then promise yourself that you will make it happen.
Step 2: Where
Decide where you’re headed.
I love to fish creeks, small lakes, larger lakes, rivers, strip pits (or borrow pits as they are sometimes called here in Illinois) and everything in between. Seen swammers in that puddle? I’ll fish it.
Spray & pray won’t help us get out of a slump, though. We need surgical precision.
Based on the current conditions: weather patterns, time of year, local water level(s) and any other information you have, what is your best guess in terms of where you might find fish? Make a selection or two, then decide when you’ll visit each location based on your time slots from Step 1.
Step 3: What
Pick your target species, and select your confidence baits.
ONLY confidence baits. Downsize ’em. This is not the time to try something new or go after trophy fish, we need to generate some results to fix our mindset. Confidence is surprisingly important when it comes to fishing, and a few bad trips can really do a number on our ego.
I want to fish for any species of bass in the area. I only have shore access, and a few spots where the kayak could get dropped. Small lakes, and a creek or two. That’s all I’ll have time for this week. I do not know what the water clarity will be, but I do know that I need two confidence baits. One needs to cover water, the other needs to fish slow. For me… that’s going to be:
1 Moving Bait
1 Finesse Bait
Why the Minimalist Approach?
Because the NetBait Little Spanky Swimbait is going to allow us to cover water, and fish at multiple depths. If I rig it weedless on a weighted swimbait hook, I can fish around smallmouth bass in creeks, or largemouth bass in thick muck. Probably use a 1/0 hook, maybe a 2/0 with the 3.25″ Little Spanky, because if my hook is too big, it means too much shank in the plastic, which will kill the action of the bait! I need that action, because if the water clarity is poor, the tail will kick off thump and fire that lateral line. They’ll feel ‘er comin’, even if they can’t see ‘er. Plus, everything will eat a swimbait, and I need a bite!
The Strike King Ocho is one of my all-time best producers. The impregnated salt & coffee scent means I can fish it weightless, without adding extra scent, straight on a weedless wacky hook. The 4″ size will appeal to both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The fluorocarbon weedguard on those Berkley Fusion19 Wacky Hooks will let me fish almost anywhere while using lighter line – I’m thinking I’ll stick with Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon, because it is invisible, abrasion resistant, and it doesn’t pick up stains and off-colors in the water like cheap fluorocarbon does. I can fish it in muck, timber, sandy bottom creeks, even rocks – and honestly – that’s why the wacky rig won out over one of my other favorites: the jigworm. A wacky rig will work better around rip-rap shorelines and stay outta them crevices better.
Focus. We don’t have time for crevice jokes.
These are my top two selections, but there are a lot of other great options that you could pick from. If you need a few more bait ideas, I’ve listed several of my personal favorites in this article where we break down some timber.
Step 4: Execute
Prepare accordingly & get after it.
Now that we’ve gone through Steps 1, 2 and 3 without even touching a bait or a pole, it’s time to get after it. Rig up in advance, set aside the confidence baits you selected, and be ready. When your window of opportunity arrives – you can grab your gear and go!
Remember… bad days happen to all of us. When you’re putting in reps, it’s never a waste. You are learning, you are evolving, and you are doing work so that when you have others with you, you can put them on fish.
We don’t quit. Ever.
Failure is not an ending, just an obstacle.
The Plan Above is Real
I should let you know… this isn’t a hypothetical for me; I’m currently in the middle of a very discouraging fishing slump myself. So tallywhacker jokes aside… it’s not fun. I’m deflated (oops, there’s another one…) and this article broke away from our Political Detox series a bit because it was a thought exercise for me – one that I wanted to share with you.
I’m not just writing fluff, folks. These aren’t the equivalent of inspirational cat posters. I’m living these situations, just like you. Trying to improve as an angler. As a man. As a human. They’re all connected. When I say motivation is worthless, I mean it. It is so important that we develop our drive, because our drive is what stands firm when motivation fades.
Time to grind.
I’ll let you know how it goes this week…
Got any thoughts about getting out of a fishing slump? I want to hear ’em! Help me out and leave a comment!
Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.