Fishing can be a very frustrating activity. Tangled lines, broken down boats, and an inability to find and catch fish can all take a mental toll.
The weather is another factor which can cause a great deal of stress and turmoil. Fishing amongst a fleet of boats or a crowd of anglers can also be a real challenge.
However, I am here to tell you that you don't have to get frustrated when you go fishing, no matter what happens. If you put the following into practice, then I promise your fishing experiences will be more fulfilling, and more fun!
1) Remember where you are
A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a bit of a "fishing slump". I was catching schoolies and small bluefish, but the big bass and albies I was after had been proving elusive.
However, getting frustrated because I'm not catching fish is no longer an option for me. It's just not worth it. In moments like this, I have found it beneficial to remember that we are all floating around on a planet, in an infinite universe, surrounded by trillions of stars.
If I'm going fishing, then I'm at least going to be happy and enjoy the experience! Plus I can always pick up some trash and leave the beach a little bit cleaner than I found it.
2) Happiness is my decision
It's easy for me to be happy when I am catching fish. Naturally it's easy for most of us to be happy whenever we are enjoying fishing success! However, if I attach my happiness to fishing success, then I am going to end up frustrated more times than not.
After all, it's only a matter of time until the weather turns sour, I get skunked, encounter a fellow angler who is acting rude, or drop a rod overboard, as I do in the clip below.
Yet what I've realized more than ever this 2020 season, is that my happiness is a personal decision and is not linked to fishing success. I used to think I would be happy when I caught that big fish, but now I know better.
Whenever I go fishing there are a multitude of things which can go wrong, and it's just a matter of time until they do go wrong. If I require that everything must go "just right" in order for me to be happy, then I am going to be upset the majority of the time I am out there fishing.
If I instead make a decision to be happy no matter what happens, then I am guaranteed to have an enjoyable fishing experience.
Making the choice to be happy regardless of the fishing situation you find yourself in may take a little practice at first, but I assure you that choosing to be happy no matter what is the best choice you can make.
3) Failure is a stepping-stone
One important realization I had during this 2020 season, is that fishing failure is not really failure at all. Fishing failure is a step in the process to catching that big fish (or for me capturing that epic video) that we all dream about.
For example, back on August 7th I was surrounded by feeding tunas, and I was given a rare opportunity to film giant bluefin tuna feeding underwater. Unfortunately when I got home and reviewed the footage, I realized I did not have my cameras rigged up correctly, and the footage came out terrible!
In the past I would've beaten myself up, dwelling on thoughts like...
"Well now Ryan, you really blew that golden opportunity! How often do you get a chance to film tunas underwater? You might have to wait years until you get another chance like that!".
However, instead of getting upset, I chose to embrace the failure, and I instantly saw how by making some minor changes, I could probably get the footage I wanted.
48 hours later I got another chance to film giant tunas underwater, and I made a few tweaks with my camera positioning based on what I learned from the failure which I experienced during the first trip. This time I was successful, and was able to record amazing footage of bluefin tuna chasing and biting a live mackerel underwater, all thanks to the things I initially did wrong.
In hindsight I can see clearly how the initial "failure" I experienced was simply part of the process to getting what I wanted. I am now convinced that fishing failure is simply a stepping stone to catching that big fish, or capturing that epic video.
4) The Voice in my head gives bad fishing advice
For years while fishing I have at times struggled with the voice inside my head. I bet you know what I am talking about! It's the voice that says things like...
"You missed the bite. Now you're not going to catch a thing."
The voice also likes to say things like...
"You should have gone to Monomoy instead of Cape Cod Bay. What were you thinking?"
The voice inside my head is like a crazy person who's narrating my fishing trips, and it's offered up a lot of bad fishing advice over the years. Anytime the voice tells me I should be doing something that I'm currently not, or I should be somewhere where I'm currently not, then I know it's bad advice.
After all, if that voice was part of my crew, then I would never invite that person to go fishing with me again! Most of us would never invite someone to go fishing, if we knew that person was going to be heckling us, second guessing our decisions, and telling us that we're doing something wrong.
Anytime the voice gets active, I fall back on topic #1 above, which is to remember where I am in the universe. When I go fishing, I am literally floating on a vast ocean, that is part of a spinning planet, which is flying through an infinite universe, surrounded by trillions of stars.
When you adopt a perspective like that, it is much easier to relax and enjoy the fishing experience, instead of constantly debating with yourself and second guessing yourself about where to go and what to use.
Getting frustrated because I'm not catching fish is no longer an option for me. It's just not worth it.
As mentioned above, we are all floating around on a planet, in an infinite universe, surrounded by trillions of stars. If I'm going fishing, then I'm at least going to be happy and enjoy the experience!
If this post helps just one person have more fun fishing, then that would be wonderful. Do you struggle at times with getting frustrated when you go fishing? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Best of luck if you head out fishing this week and Tight Lines!