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What Am I Doing Wrong? Maybe Nothing ...

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By Gary Shiebler

September 23, 2014

Last year, a very good friend of mine and an excellent angler, went through a terrible tournament fishing slump. The longer the slump went on, the angrier and more frustrated he got. He wasn't doing anything different than he had done the year before, a year in which he came in the money a bunch of times. He just wasn't catching fish.
"I'm quitting," he said after one particularly grueling tournament. "I've had enough of this."
I gave him a pep talk and reminded him what a great angler he was.
"Thanks, man," he replied. "I just can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong."
Fast-forward to this summer and my buddy is off to one of his best tournament starts in recent memory. For me, it's been a very different story. After a great tournament season last year, I couldn’t catch a damn thing. And I wasn’t happy about it.
It all came to a head last Tuesday night. It was an unbearably hot and muggy evening with nary a puff of wind, the kind of weather where you can break a sweat just talking to someone. Still, I was fired up. My fishing partner and I were going to try some new spots recommended to us by another angler who has been tearing it up for the past month. I was rigged up and ready to go with my
go-to set-ups: shaky heads, Carolina rigs, Senkos and a couple topwater baits in case fish started busting shad. This was going to be the night I'd break my skid, the tournament where I'd, once again, be back in the money.
I didn't get a bite. Not even a tap.
I walked off the lake convinced that I was the most inept bass fisherman that had ever lived. I found no consolation in the fact that most everyone was saying that it was brutally slow. I used to find comfort in those words until I realized that no matter how "slow" it is, somebody always catches fish. Somebody always wins or ends up in the money. And there are just so many tournaments you can chalk up to "experience" before you start losing your mind.
Mind you, I've tried everything to break this bad streak. I've gone "back to basics", using only my highest confidence baits and lures. I've fished slower. I've fished faster. I've stayed open and teachable, throwing baits that I've never used because I've heard that other guys were catching fish on them. I've said prayers and done deep breathing exercises convinced that I'm the problem, that there's some kind of negative energy flowing from my hands to the end of my line. I've fished shallow and deep, grass and ledges, flipped docks, brush piles and lay downs. I've blamed my partner and the wind, cold fronts and the moon. Each effort has yielded the same results - an empty livewell.
On my way home that night, I remembered a conversation I had with my good friend and fishing buddy, country music legend Bobby Bare. We were talking about what a tough time it was in the music business and how after 25 plus years of writing and pitching songs, I was thinking about hanging it up.
"I can't even get a damn meeting down on Music Row," I lamented. "I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong."
Bare, a man of few words, took a puff of his cigar and sat back in his easy chair.
"I was talking to Willie (Nelson) the other day about Nashville and how tough it is for new songwriters these days," he said.
"One thing’s for sure, Bobby, “ Willie laughed.  “There's a whole lot more of us. But the rules haven't changed."
Bare took another puff of his cigar and smiled.
"We do what we do, Shiebler," he said. "And then you get in line and wait until your name is called."
The summer is winding down. I only have a handful of tournaments left to
fish. Do I have a plan? Not really. I'm just gonna do what I do, get in line and wait
until my name is called…

Last year, a very good friend of mine and an excellent angler, went through a terrible tournament fishing slump. The longer the slump went on, the angrier and more frustrated he got. He wasn't doing anything different than he had done the year before, a year in which he came in the money a bunch of times. He just wasn't catching fish.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 09:58 Read more...
 

Ehler’s Daybreak D-Shad Assault

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By David A. Brown

September 18, 2014

It didn’t last long, but while it did, Brent Ehrler got all he could. We’re talking about the open-water feeding activity that happened each morning on Lake Murray – site of the Forrest Wood Cup, where the pro from Redlands, Calif. took third place.

Ehrler, who won the FWC in 2006, caught several of his key fish each morning on Yamamoto D-Shads. We’ll address his specific rigging and tactics in a moment, but for perspective, we need to take a look at why his plan made sense.

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 11:08 Read more...
 

Gagliardi Breaks Down Breaking Fish

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By David A. Brown

September 12, 2014

Much has been said about Anthony Gagliardi’s Cinderella story victory at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray. The local pro with a lifetime of home lake experience nearly missed his chance to compete in front of the home crowd when an inadvertent rules violation caused a heart-breaking disqualification at the season’s opening event on Lake Okeechobee.

Rightfully so, many reporters – myself included – pointed to Gagliardi’s diligence, his faith, his resilience as key factors in his amazing comeback performance. Those are good points, valid points, but we also can’t discount the fundamental truth that the guy’s a darn good fishermen. Many examples surfaced during the Cup, but one in particular was Gagliardi’s in-depth explanation of his use of the Yamamoto D-Shad.

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 11:09 Read more...
 

Control the Things You Can, and Never Give Up

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By Jim Gildea

September 12, 2014

To say that winning the Massachusettes Bass Federation State Championship on Lake Champlain at Ticonderoga was an emotional roller-coaster would be an understatement. I blew my outboard five minutes after blast-off, trolled to a spot I had never fished, and caught a 4.71 smallmouth on my first cast. And that was just on Day One!

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 11:08 Read more...
 

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2014 Delaware River BASS Elite

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September 10, 2014

When BASS announced Philadelphia as stop No.7 on the Elite Series schedule, it raised some concerns. Philly is a busy place — industrial and crowded—and the Delaware River serves as a major seaway for both military and commercial ships, so it’s hardly the type of venue we would expect to host a bass event.

Aside from a busy waterway, another concern was trailering our rigs through heavy traffic on unfamiliar roads and freeways…none of which were “free” by the way. To say the least, stress levels ran high, even before we ever hit the water.

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 11:09 Read more...
 
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