with Matt Lee
Bass fishing is a weird sport. You’re fishing against 100 or more of the nation’s top bass anglers in most tournaments you enter. You must realize that you’ll lose more times than you’ll win. So to be a successful tournament angler, you must develop a system that allows you to get over a loss quickly and to be mentally prepared for the next tournament.
In my mind, if I come in second or dead last, I’ve lost. I get very mad. I’m really only happy if I win. I think the only way I can get over my mad is by depending on past experience, knowing I have another chance to win at the next tournament. I like to fish tournaments back to back - leave one and go straight to another one, with no breaks in-between. I prefer to keep on fishing every day, because that’s what I get paid to do and how I earn my living. The more tournaments I get to fish in a year, the better my odds are for winning one.
I don’t think the joy of winning is nearly as great as the pain of losing. But wanting to win is what drives me and keeps me going, especially after a loss. Professional bass fishermen are not only competing against the other fishermen, we’re also competing against the bass. Even if you finish in the top 5 and have beat the majority of anglers in a tournament, you still may not have beat the bass and caught enough of them to win.
I’m convinced that being a tournament bass fisherman is what I was put on this earth to do. So, I realize I must get over a loss quickly and get my mind right for the next day of bass fishing.
Whether you’re a weekend angler or a tournament pro, whether the bass or the other competitors beat you, you must learn to get over a loss quickly to be able to perform well the next time you’re bass fishing. I compare this to being a professional bronc rider. When you get thrown off a horse before that 8-second buzzer sounds, you must get up quickly, dust yourself off and get ready to throw your saddle on the next bronc. And, that’s how professional bassers do – keep on keeping on, no matter what.