We’ve all probably heard “that guy” at one time. You know… that guy who lines up at the weigh-in whining and groaning about how the “big one got away”… the guy who bemoans the weather and how it hurt his fishing. This is usually followed up with a boastful description of how he was whacking ‘em during practice. Big whoop! That’s why you adjust. Sure, easier said than done, but everyone else felt that weather too. A guy like this is just attempting to reassure his ego and assert his status as a legitimate contender by making sure every knows that he “shoulda won if it wasn’t for________”. No, you shouldn’t have. If you truly “shoulda won”, you would have.
That kind of grumbling makes an angler come across like such a lightweight. Almost everybody could have won if it wasn’t for (fill in the blank). Look, your bag is light. You didn’t get a limit… the big one came off… whatever. The coulda, shoulda just doesn’t matter at this point. Accept it and move on. Everybody within earshot doesn’t need to hear your excuse-laden sob stories.
The confident angler with a FishStrong mentality doesn’t feel the need to offer unsolicited explanations and excuses for his shortcomings. When somebody asks you what you caught, tell them or show them what you have and leave it at that. Why? Most people only care about what’s in your bag – not what you “could have caught it wasn’t for…”.
Everyone is a winner when laying down at night and dreaming in a perfect world. The trick is dealing with the imperfections of reality in the moment.
Furthermore, all of those generic “I missed a 5 pounder” stories are really not newsworthy – especially in Southern waters. Sometimes I swear it seems like every guy on the bank with a cane pole missed a 5 pounder. Broadcasting your “coulda, woulda” tales of missing “the big one” doesn’t legitimize you or your fishing. That’s what pictures and weigh-ins are for. Kicker fish only count when they are landed, not when they boil up under a mat while frog fishing.
Listen, I’m not saying you can’t describe your day when prompted, but take caution not to sound like an excuse maker. When a pro has a bad showing or misses a fish, he steps up to the plate and takes it like a man. He takes responsibility for missing the cut, coming in 2nd place, coming in last place, etc… He doesn’t try to place the blame on external factors. The pro acknowledges that it’s all part of the game.
Instead of making excuses, the pro simply says something along the lines of…
“I had a tough day, tried my best, and I just couldn’t come up with it.”
Whining about conditions, environmental factors, or missed fish is a waste of time. Why? Chances are, most of the guys ahead of you in the standings dealt with the same external factors and unfortunate mishaps. It’s not like you were disadvantaged or something.
I recently fished a tournament with a guy who was lamenting his point standings. He went so far as to grumble on about a… you guessed it… “5 pounder” that he missed on a totally different lake during a tournament 8 weeks before! As predicted, he informed me that…
“If it wasn’t for that 5 pounder, I would have been in the top 12!”
I couldn’t help but thinking to myself… “get over it, buddy”. If you have to go that far back in time to make excuses and salvage your ego, you have bigger problems. It’s very possible that the winner of that tournament lost more fish than he caught altogether.
How many of these lame excuses have you heard?
I would’ve won if it wasn’t for:
“… that new rod I was using”
“… that new line I tried”
“… my co-angler catching my fish”
“… too many boats on the lake”
“… the wind”
“… the cold front”
“… my hook”
“… the moon“
“… running out of gas”
Can you add any more to this list? Let’s hear some lame excuses. When the list is compiled. Let’s bury these flimsy excuses and never use them again. Next time you hear somebody bellyaching in this fashion, I hope you remember this article and it puts a smile on your face.
Whew! Okay, that’s enough rant for now.