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4 Ways To Not Get Frustrated When You Go Fishing

ryan collins my fishing cape cod breakfast

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. πŸ˜–

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. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

In Conclusion

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! 🎣

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Lost 1/2 of a spool of braid tonight when a seal decided to grab my paddle tail. In my younger years that would have bummed me out. Still a great evening on the outer beaches and the few small fish I caught helped to ease the pain. It’s all good, tomorrow is a new day.

    1. Oh man, that is too bad. I hope the seal is able to shake the hook free. I’ve had the same thing happen to me before. Good luck if you head back out this week, and thanks for commenting Mike!

  2. Well that was a great reminder and, reading between the lines, it sounds like 2020, yet again, was a year unlike any other. Having said that, being able to “go fishing” was truly a big bright spot for all. Getting outdoors, fresh air and enjoying a sport where no 2 days are ever alike is cause for gratefulness. So as this season comes to rapid conclusion pause yeah I am forever grateful for living and fishing in greater Cape Cod. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks for the great comment πŸ‘ Tight lines! 🎣

  3. I enjoyed the article Ryan. Fishing with kids a lot lately has really changed my personal perspective on the definition of a successful day on the water… I just love teaching someone to catch a schoolie and knowing I’m helping to spark an interest that may last a lifetime. Oh, and losing rods, it happens to all of us… frustrating as all bleeping bleep, but what can you do… punch something and you only end up with a missing rod and a sore hand!

    1. Well said Drew! I appreciate your empathy, and nice work getting the kids onto some fish. πŸ™ŒπŸ»

  4. Great perspective Ryan! Usually reserved for old time anglers
    like me. The best trips you will go on will be with others who
    share the same attitude—and I think Lauren is already there!

    1. Thank you Tom, I could not agree more. Tight lines!

  5. Outstanding and inspiring guidelines from a talented and terrific person.

    1. Thanks Jon, and thank you or your many helpful and informative posts this season in the forum! Lets hope the albies stick around until Halloween…

  6. Great advice, thanks!

    1. My pleasure Ken, thank you for reading!

  7. I live my fishing life largely vicariously through this fabulous website … my time to fish is so limited compared to many of the die-hards here in the community. So ANY opportunity I have is precious … I’ve been largely skunked this season, but those times where I had success are memorable. It’s all about the opportunity for me … the results are secondary. The feeling of being on the water is all that’s necessary.

    1. Thanks Jeff for a great comment, and as always, I am really happy you enjoy MFCC so much. Hearing positive feedback like yours really helps to keep me going and growing. Good luck if you make it out fishing this week. Tight lines! 🎣

  8. Great life long advice. The voice can be very destructive in all areas of life. We have choices as free will humans.I wonder which voice I choose to listen to today???

    1. Well Dad, for starters, you should probably listen to mom’s voice. LOL. Hope you two have a good day today!

  9. Ryan, I just want to say that having worked as a therapist for my career, your advice is spot on! Attitude is not some preordained condition but rather a choice based on where we decide to place our focus. Fishing allows us to be engaged in our environment while visiting some of the most beautiful places on earth. When catching is added to that equation, I just say β€œThank You!”

    1. Wow Ken, thanks for your comment! I never expected to hear from an actual therapist. This is awesome! Good luck out there this week if you get a chance to wet a line. 🎣

  10. Ryan,
    Every time I am on the Outer Cape beaches or sitting by the pond in front of our house I try to think how lucky we are to be on Cape. Watching the sun come up at Newcomb Hollow or Coast Guard or any of the beaches is such a quiet pleasure.

    1. That sounds like a slice of heaven to me Mark. Thanks for commenting, and good luck if you make it out fishing this week. 🎣

  11. You always bring back fond memories of my surf casting and fishing the Outer Cape

    1. That is wonderful to hear Bill. I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts. I will keep them coming! Tight lines my friend. 🎣

  12. Truer words have never been spoken! Don’t get me wrong, not catching is, in that moment, very frustrating but when I’m making my 2 hour return trip to home I remind myself of those same exact points. This past Friday, being alone on the beach in Sandwich with the waves crashing the shore, the bright full moon and stars in the sky, and the sounds of birds in the dunes reminds me that catching fish is just a bonus. Tightlines and keep plugging away!

    1. Well said Rick! πŸ™ŒπŸ»

  13. Great article Ryan! I know all to well about that. I’ve been trying to be better every trip out. I used to let the small uncontrollable stuff get me so worked up I would just call it quits and walk off the beach early. Something as stupid as getting mad that the seals seem to show up 10-15 minutes after getting there, or getting upset with myself for missing the ideal tide by an hour. Since joining and reading a lot more I have begun to become more appreciative that I am able to get out and fish as much as I do, and like you say if nothing else enjoy nature for what it is. I keep telling myself if every trip out was super productive none of them would really be special!

    1. Thank you for sharing that Leo. I am sure many other anglers reading this can relate to your experience!

  14. The Tao of Ryan. Love it!! Likening that “voice in your head” to a discontent, complaining mate on your boat is awesome!! Simple solution: don’t invite him!

    1. Thanks for commenting Doug.

      It is for sure an extremely simple (but not easy) solution. However the more I practice, the better I get at “not inviting” the discontent and complaining mate.

      Gluck this week if you make it out! 🎣


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