Fishing’s Overlooked Component: Confidence


There are many variables in fishing that contribute to an angler’s success, or failure. Many cannot be controlled by the angler, including current or past weather conditions affecting the fish, water clarity, temperature, population dynamics, fishing pressure, etc. But there is one factor that a fisherman can control, and one that is talked about very little in fishing circles: confidence.

Confidence does play an important role and is largely overlooked or unrecognized.

Looking up the word confidence in the dictionary provided several definitions. The one that really caught my eye was “positiveness.” In today’s vernacular, “positiveness” could be interpreted as a “positive mental attitude.”

The faith or belief that you will catch fish under any circumstance certainly fuels the success of today’s tournament pros. I’m sure there is not a professional out there who does not believe that he or she cannot win any event that they enter. If they thought otherwise, they would’ve kept their entry money and stayed at home.

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For most of us though, confidence can come from successful past experiences. Luck sometimes plays a role in a tournament win, but you cannot rely on luck for consistent success whether you’re in competition or not. Fishing knowledge breeds confidence, and this knowledge comes from time on the water and other avenues of education. Today’s anglers are very fortunate in that they can learn about the sport from other anglers, books, magazines like MidWest Outdoors, fishing TV shows and videos. These avenues can speed up the learning process and indirectly add to your confidence level.

Confidence in one’s ability to catch under any condition on any given day is not enough. But it is an extension of what you’re using, and the way you’re fishing. Therefore, the equipment you use, built upon reliability, plays an important part in your attitude. Rods, reels, line and your choice of bait or lures are all built upon past successful experiences. For example, if you have a particular lure or color that you rely on or a method of presentation, you will probably catch fish while using it, and feel that way throughout. Some might say that you are successful with a particular lure or technique because you are using it a greater portion of your time on the water, but it goes beyond this. If you have built up that confidence in a method or a particular lure, you will fish harder and more attentively. Your level of concentration will naturally be higher when using that bait or method of presentation and feel that it will work for you consistently. And, if you fish harder and pay more attention, you will catch more.

So be aware of the confidence factor in yourself next time you plan a trip and after you’ve gone out on the water. This belief in success plays an important part and is a trait that you can acquire, improve upon and use to your advantage.