Bass Fishing: Improve Your Game by Setting Goals

When it comes to competitive bass fishing, the level of competition improves every year.

Today, there are many excellent anglers at all levels of the sport. Even at the local club level, there are fishermen worthy of competing at higher levels if they choose to go in that direction. The best competitors in any sport or competition continually practice their craft while setting goals towards improving their skills. Tournament bass fishing is the same way. New techniques, refinements in techniques, new technology, all occur as the result of somebody looking to improve their bass fishing mojo. So if you’re serious about improving your competitiveness, start setting some goals.

Jim Moynagh with a large bass
Jim Moynagh

I like setting goals that I can control and achieve. Sure I want to win every tournament and be the “Angler of the Year,” but setting that type of goal isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about improving some part of your skill set that ultimately leads to better overall performance. Wins and titles follow the achievements of accomplishing goals.

For example, here’s a goal of mine – I want to become better with my Lowrance Fish Finder/electronics. I’m not sure I’m getting everything out of it that is possible. For sure I am underutilizing the side scanning abilities of it. Thus, I need to take some steps to achieve this. I need to make it a point to talk to other Lowrance users and get their input. I may contact Lowrance directly and ask them a few key questions. And certainly, I can scour the internet for useful YouTube videos and so forth. Once I’ve done this, then I’ll make a point to apply what I’ve learned out on the water. I will leave the rods in the boat’s rod locker and use the time on the lake to implement my new knowledge.

So as you can see, this goal wasn’t as broad or general as stating, “I want to be a better fisherman.” The goal is more specific and has steps to achieving it. And ultimately when the goal is attained, you will be a better fisherman who has a better chance for better tournament performance.

Here are some goals to consider no matter if you are a tournament competitor or a weekend angler:

  • Learn your electronics better as I discussed above. They have become very complex, and I bet most anglers could improve this part of their game.
  • Set aside more time for fishing. The feasibility of doing this depends on your personal situation. I’m not suggesting you ignore your family or job, but perhaps some time can be shaved from some other hobby.
  • Learn a new technique. This can be frustrating and time consuming because it may not produce right away. But the more time you dedicate to it and use your brain to “tweak” it, perhaps you’ll eventually hit the right setup and presentation that really produces. I don’t suggest using the limited tournament practice time for this, but instead do this when you’re just fishing for fun. Just be sure that you do set aside some “fun time” to accomplish this.
  • Better organize your tackle. This helps you be more efficient and gets you more fishing time on the water. Plus, you’ll better know when to restock certain items.
  • For tournament anglers, during the pre-fishing days, get the boat launched before sunrise. Most tournaments start then, so you should be ready to establish methods to catch bass early.
  • Be a better student of the sport off the water. Set aside more time to studying the sport of bass fishing. Surf the web, read magazines, watch fishing shows, check out the Bass Fishing Tips section here at SG. Don’t simply view this stuff, but study it! I really like to study tournament reports and try to recognize common themes.
  • Tournament anglers, pay more attention to your nutrition and hydration. Your brain is the most valuable fishing tool. Treat it right on and off the water. I know what dehydration does to my brain – it gets indecisive and forgetful. I have learned the value of keeping liquids around in decent quantities.

These are just some goals to consider. Whatever goal you set, be sure to clearly define it and outline the steps that will actually get you there.

Improving your game is necessary in competitive bass fishing because too many others are doing the same! And weekend anglers also will find their time spent on the water to be more profitable!


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