It seems like everyone wants to know what it is like to be a professional bass angler. Sounds like a good idea for a website (hint). Maybe within such a website, one such pro angler could give a piece of information about being a pro that nobody ever thinks about. Being the Champion of What If is one of those unknown titles.
Over the 11 plus years I have been fishing full time, I have run across many, many different situations. It also has occurred to me that out of all the pro anglers on tour, they come from many walks of life and various situations. One of the unknown common factors to most all, successful pro anglers are Champions of What If.
This is a different type of Champion. Being good at adapting with mechanical breakage, various living on the road situations, and making something work where it is not designed to go is the type of Champion I am talking about. Everyone knows people that are good at improvising.
A friend of mine witnessed a good example of this many years ago. He was fishing a tournament where he knew there were 3 or 4 real good anglers that had a chance to win. At the take off, another good angler was right in front of him. He saw his competitor spin out. My friend stopped to see if the angler was ok and his steering wheel had come off. He told my friend to go ahead and he was fine. My friend also knew they were fishing the same little area so he thought he would have it to him self for the day. About 5 minutes after my friend started fishing, that spin out angler came barreling into the area. My friend had to do a double take because the angler had taken 2 sets of vise grip pliers and duck taped them together so it looked like he was driving a motorcycle. That improvising angler was James Dudley, successful angler and father to pro angler David Dudley.
There are many examples that I have in my boat AND truck. I have changed about 8 or 10 flat tires over the life of my career. I have changed outboard props on the water. Other improvising acts include changing trolling motors, installing drain plugs AFTER the boat is on the water, reconfiguring battery set ups, changing livewell pumps, and more. All these fixes equaled more time on the water and in some cases the difference between making weigh in and not.
So what does this have to do with catching fish? It is the same mentality that lets you adapt to the bass on the water. Pro anglers get thrown lots of curve balls mechanically and have to deal with them to stay competitive. Anglers also get thrown curve balls with what the fish are doing. The same mentality for adapting on the mechanical issues translates to adapting to catching bass as they change from day to day. One fishing example is when I was fishing the clear water of Beaver Lake in Arkansas in an FLW tournament. During the 3 day practice, we had cloudy and windy conditions. I caught a bunch on crankbaits. My partner asked me how I had been catching them in practice and I told him. The tournament day had blue bird skies and no wind. After 30 minutes of cranking, I switched to the worm. I caught a limit and was in the top 30 and thought nothing of it. At the end of the day, my partner asked me if I lied to him about practice. I laughed and said I had not even thrown a worm in practice. He could not get over that type of adaptation.
That is being a Champion of What If.
Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.