There’s something to be said about attitude and confidence when fishing. Believing in something whether it's the location, the fly, or the technique is an underrated skill, and at times as hard to do as anything. It may not directly influence how well the fish are biting, but sometimes a little confidence does seem to help.
Back at school when friends are stressing over a coming test I always tell them “be confident, that tests are like 60% knowledge and 40% confidence.” Of course that’s a load of garbage, to get a good grade knowledge is always the most important thing, confidence is five percent maybe ten. But, I think it might make them feel better.
Truthfully fishing is similar. The right attitude only goes so far, but it can affect things more than the ten percent it effects a difficult exam. Because when: things are working, I’ve heard some positive fishing reports, and the water looks good, I fish better. My casting is crisp, my mending is detailed, and I’m overall more focused. Like I said, confidence doesn’t directly affect how well fish are biting, putting off good vibes doesn’t sooth trout into striking. Instead it influences my technique, and consequently my success.
I’m pretty certain there is no psychic link between positivity and a good day on the water. Although I can’t be entirely sure of that. I am sure that when the rivers are dirty and the fishing is slow, I can’t help but doubt things when I should be paying attention. I never do well when I doubt, not just when it comes to catching fish, but rather my casting sucks, my drifts drag all the time, and I’m just clumsy and loud when I need to be slow and quiet.
The success of anything has to do with being focused, not just in fishing, but we’ll limit this to just fishing or else we’ll start getting into things that are existential beyond the purpose of this simple little blog. Believing leads to confidence, confidence leads to a more focused attitude.
A great example came from a redfishing trip to Texas last spring, I’d been there for three days and had seen a few fish, but they’d all turned tail and swam away before I could get to the second haul in my cast. I was drifting in my kayak across a long flat, blind casting because I hadn’t seen a fish all day, and I was bored of just staring at an empty bottom.
Forty yards into my second drift I brought my fly back from a long cast at a pretty quick pace. About the time I was set to pull out and cast again I looked down to where the fly should have been. To my surprise the little crab pattern I’d tied on had grown into a thirty inch redfish. I strip set, but never so much as felt him.
There he was. Where was I? La La Land. I didn’t believe and because of that I didn’t catch that fish, it wasn’t the fly, the cast, or the location, it was me. It was my poor attitude and lack of focus.
Fishing is like this crappy fortune cookie once told me “Attitude is more important than facts”. I don’t know about that, it sounds half baked, but here I am writing about it.