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  • Itís More to Crappie Fishing Than Just What You Can See! By Bernard Williams

    The sport of crappie fishing has exploded beyond our wildest dreams. No one could have envisioned that we would be spending upwards of $70K for boats, $10K+ for depth finders, $2K+ for trolling motors and paying $8 to $10 or better for crankbaits, not to mention what poles and other tackle cost. Back in my day, it was used strictly for table fare, food. Donít get me wrong, crappie filets still make a delicious meal, but crappie fishing has become more than just something for the dinner table. Crappie guiding, for instance, has become a lucrative business. Itís quite common down here in the south to pay $500+ per day for a 2-person, 8-hour trip, even more, when you include food and lodging.

    The professional crappie circuits are attracting more and more weekend anglers. The prize money has grown to astronomical amounts. American Crappie Trail gives away a Ranger Boat at every tournament and close to $50K in prize money and the ACT classic is paying over $125K in cash and prizes. On the flip side, who ever heard of paying $300 to $400+ for entry fees? The sponsor money makes it all possible, and boy are they pouring it into our sport.

    When you get that big money and tough completion in any sport it involves more than chance. It takes 20% skill, 30% practice, 10% equipment and 40% mental. Yes, it becomes a mind game. Not only do you have to outsmart the fish you have to out-think the other fishermen.

    Many fishermen believe all thatís needed is a decent boat, tackle, and the right bait and youíre set. This is true to a certain extent, but to really be consistently competitive youíve got to do something the other fishermen are not doing. You have to work harder and smarter in practice, pay attention to the details and work together as a team. Yes, I said to ďTĒ word, itís the bottom line and the winning solution.

    Gerald Swindle, a Professional Bass Fishermen said, ďWinning is determined by that 4-pound mass located between your ears. If you concentrate on the right things and keep the negative thoughts out, then youíll be successful.Ē I couldnít agree with him more, itís called staying focused. Ok, how you do not think about the negatives, Iím saying if they do arise, snap that rubber band I told you to wear around your wrist. Replace those thoughts with positive thoughts.

    By staying focused, I mean transforming your mind to a state that you phase out everything but what youíre doing and trying to accomplish. Becoming engrossed in your surroundings, keeping an intense eye on whatís happening in and around you, doing your homework before you leave the bank, reading the signs early on and making the necessary adjustments quickly.

    For instance, if I see birds diving on a spot, itís time to see whatís up in and around that spot. If I see baitfish breaking the water, itís time to investigate. If I'm catching more fish going with the wind than against, I need to quickly identify that fact. I canít mention everything in this short space but I think you get my drift.

    Pay attention to every little thing that happens when you catch a fish. If youíre not catching fish and others are, pay attention to what theyíre doing. I often ask my partners, what hook or how deep did that last fish come on or what color skirt was that last fish caught on? The usual answer is, ďI donít know or Iím not sureĒ. Thatís a sure-fire strategy to get beat most of the time. Sure sometimes you can do no wrong, itís your day. Thatís not the case 99% of the time. Iím referring to the days that you have trouble buying a bite. Itís those days that you need all the help you can get. Usually, itís a few hundreds of a pound that separate 1st and 2nd. If you finish 2nd, you can always look back and say what you could have corrected.

    Iíve talked with several consistent winners and all say the same. ďMake every bite count; pay strict attention to whatís going on in and around your boat, stay focused, watch what youíre doing, plan your work and work your plan, let the fish tell you what they want instead of trying to force-feed them and donít second-guess yourselfĒ. Itís no way to you can ďCount Airplanes, Day Dream, Bird-Watch, Talk on the Phone or SLEEPĒ and stay fish-focused at the same time. Itís pretty much the same with any endeavor you choose in life. Pay close attention to the smallest details, same in fishing as in baseball or golf, follow through.

    If you start the day off with the right mindset, continue the day focused on your game plan, make the necessary adjustments during the day and donít second-guess yourself, you can feel good at the end of the day knowing youíve given it your best shot. If you didnít win you can still feel good about your efforts. You take what you learned and apply them to a future adventure. Repetition is the key to unlock the winning door; repeating the good and positive things, not the wrong things.

    So to sum it up, the crappie fishing game is a lot like the game of life, itís more to both than what you can see. Iím not saying we should worry about the unseen; all Iím saying is expect the unexpected and donít be shocked or surprised when something out of the ordinary happens, ďDeal with ItĒ and move on. If youíre in the right mentality your solution is right in front of you, if not, itís close by. Now go out there and win you some tournaments. Bernard
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. trypman1's Avatar
      trypman1 -
      Great article and to the point.
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      Tournament fishing isn’t my thing , but to be sure focus is critical and loss of it will result in less fish
    1. crankycrappie's Avatar
      crankycrappie -
      Great Article! I don't tournament fish but this article rings true in more than just tournament fishing and honestly it rings true in more than just fishing as well. I enjoyed it. Thanks!
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Good article
    1. Anchor Man's Avatar
      Anchor Man -
      Thanks for posting this great article.
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Lots of great information. Thanks!
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