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What Irritates Kevin VanDam When He’s Bass Fishing?

Kevin VanDam

The things I can’t control are what irritates me the most when I’m fishing a tournament. For instance, if I’m fishing down a bank, going to a point where I’ve caught bass before and planning to fish it again, and someone’s on a jet ski going around and around on that point, I’ll usually get irritated. I’ll often try to wave that person off that spot. But I have to realize he’s got as much right to run his jet ski over my best fishing holes as I have to fish there. This is a classic example of an unknown that really can irritate me. 

If I’m fishing the back of a creek where clear, clean water is running into it, I’ve been finding and catching plenty of bass there, and then suddenly a rainstorm comes up and muddies up the water coming into the creek, I really can be irritated about that happening. But since there’s nothing I can do about it, I just have to tell myself that I can’t change the situation. So, I need to figure out what to do next.

If wind has been blowing into a bank with cover on it, and I’ve caught a lot of bass – some of them good sizes - fishing on that bank, but the wind changes direction, and the bass don’t bite anymore, that’s something that irritates me. If during practice in the week before the tournament, I’ve found several productive spots to catch bass, and then on the tournament days, three large bass clubs are having tournaments on that same lake, I tend to get irritated. When these other anglers are running up and down the lake, their prop washes will hit the shoreline and muddy-up the bank where I’ve been fishing. I just have to remember that those folks have just as much a right to compete on this lake as I do. I generally get over that irritation quickly. 

When some competitors miss bass, they break their rods, jump up and down and/or start cussing. But getting upset doesn’t win tournaments. So, I try to get over my mad as quickly as possible and return to fishing. If I miss a big bass, instead of being upset, I grab a rod and use a follow-up bait to attempt to catch that bass. I’ve learned that getting upset when things happen that I can’t control does me absolutely no good and also interferes with my thinking of what to do next. 

We’re all going to get upset when something changes that causes bass not to bite. But the faster we can get over being upset, the quicker we can get back to asking ourselves what we can do to start catching bass. Then I can act on whatever change I need to make to lose as little time as possible after something makes me upset and/or causes me to be frustrated on the water.

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