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Myth #5 ꟷ Confidence Catches More Fish

Well, I have to proclaim ꟷ I'm a fishing dummy. But, I just cannot resist to stir up a hornet's nest.

If there are tall fishing tails, this one is probably the most illustrative of non-logic: "If you have confidence in your lure or bait, you will catch more fish."

When asked why, the answer is always, " You will present the lure with much more subtle, life like and realistic action."

The truth is, A does not equal B. Just because we imagine it to be so, does not mean they are related or entangled.

Confidence is a belief. Catching fish is an action and result. If you are concentrating on or instinctively offering more accurate and life like presentations of natural forage, your chances of catching fish are improved. Believing you will catch fish today will not result in filling the holding tank or put food on the table. Believing with the greatest of self-confidence you will win at the slots or roulette wheel in Vegas today, can surely tell your wallet, "Not today, another time."

Where is the logic?

I fished the morning with my angling partner. We cast deeply under the docks. I was using my Rapala Original 1–1/2" minnow. He had a similar size and colored jig and plastic. Every 4 to 5 minutes I was snagging bluegill, crappie, small largemouth bass, yellow perch or striper – nothing big, but the action was exciting. He was retrieving empty handed. He changed to the exact same crankbait. I was still catching them; he still came up empty. He has been fishing for many years and knew all the presentation/retrieve techniques known to mankind. I'm still learning how to hold my spinning rod.

So, how is confidence related to catching fish? It is not. The relationship is an imagined one. We need to understand and justify why fish are not biting, so we create another reason. We have hundreds of them. Some are legitimate – weather, water temperature, current, barometric pressure, available forage, etc.

As we trolled north along the lake banks, he became busy and my action had dwindled to nothing. I did not alter my presentation/retrieve. Certainly, my confidence in my ability to catch fish and the lure was high. Frankly, the idea of confidence never came to mind. Then, it stopped for both of us. It was noon by this time and I'm usually done after 4 hours on the water. I'm 74, the sun is beating on me and, whether or not I catch fish, I'm a satisfied "The Old Man and the Sea."

He continued to fish the remaining 50 yards of shoreline. On an impulse, I turned toward the open water. The mission was to see how far I could cast the Rapala on the light, fast action 6' 6" Ugly Stick. I was done fishing. I just needed to occupy myself while my friend wrapped it up. It was a nice cast – maybe 40 to 50 feet out. Redhead Lake on The Chain is not deep and the weeds are still close to the surface. My objective was to just retrieve it without snagging. The retrieve was straight, no technique. My purpose was to bring it back – nothing more. Bam…! I had a fish? No, it was just weed.

One thing I learned quickly was that weeds do not pull down the rod tip nor engage the spool drag. Hey, I had a fish! I yelled, "Frank, get the damn net, I think I have a good one." He replied, "You're nuts, there are no fish out there. You are just hung on weed." I said again, "Frank, don't tell me where the fish are or are not, get the damn net." Just as he turned toward me to declare me a bungling newbie, the bass broke the surface. That was not weed. Weed does not have a mouth, fins and tail. He nursed it into the net. It was an easy release. It was a largemouth bass. We guessed it at about 2.5 lbs.

The lure was cast with lackless attitude. Confidence of catching a fish never crossed my mind. If fish need to eat or just slay the dragon for sport, they will grab an appropriate bait.

I have been to several tournaments, partnered with expert anglers. If there is experience, knowledge of the lakes and their structure, water conditions and confidence, they certainly have it. After, perhaps, catching their first qualifying fish or two, they would smile, yelp, bump knuckles and know they would win the tournament. Confidence catches fish? Humbug! Think again. Often they would return at sunset with empty holding tanks.

Oh, the imaginary tales, facts and truths we tell.

This dummy also says, "The proof is in the pudding." I will let you know how my wisdom fares.

Join the conversation. Give me some comments. Blow me out of the water…What the hell do I know?


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