Stick To Your Strengths


By: Matthew Mattingly

​“Dance with the one who brought you!” That’s how the old saying goes. There is always the infamous dock talk eating at your brain. Everyone is on them except you and that pulls you down a whirlwind of wrong decisions. Before you know it you’ve blanked out and got your butt stomped. Nobody wants to be there, that’s when it’s time to stick your strengths.

​It’s easier said than done. When everybody else around you seems to be, “whackin’ them,” and you’re scrambling around like a chicken with your head cut off looking for the piece to the puzzle it is easy to succumb to the peer pressure and let the dock talk take over your sanity. I have been in that position before and more than once. To beat all when you finish the day and reflect, you just spent the entire day doing something you had no confidence in.

Fishing confidence is everything and a huge factor. Don’t be afraid to be different and do the things that you do the best.

​If you look at all the big tournament circuits like the Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW tour, there is no one single way to catch a fish. The guys are all over the board doing everything imaginable, but what got them there? What makes them a professional? They play to their strengths and do one thing to perfection. Look at the greats of the sport of bass fishing, Kevin Van Dam, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn, Skeet Reese, and Gary Klein. All those guys are versatile don’t get me wrong, but history has shown that when they do well it is because they catch fish their way. Need more proof? Look at reigning Elite Series Angler of the Year Aaron Martens, the drop shot king. Every stop the tour made he found a way to make those big bass eat a dropshot.

In fishing you have to leader, not a follower. Dare to be different, don’t get caught up in the hype of everyone else and concentrate on you. Find one thing and do it well. Become at master of your craft. Everyone needs to know all the techniques to be a successful tournament angler because at some point and time you will need those tools in your arsenal. All I am trying to get across to you is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, When all else fails and the light is fading on the window of opportunity to cash a check, do what you do best and fish your strengths.

It really makes all the sense in the world to become a master of a technique and use it when everything gets tough.Whether it be flipping and pitching, dropshotting, cranking the ledges or throwing a frog, go with your confidence lures and stick to your guns. When you have confidence in your abilities and what you are doing things just click. You slow down, refine your technique, and concentrate on nothing but bass and task in front of you. Don’t listen to the dock talk and go do you. Play your strengths, don’t make regrets, don’t make excuses, go make it happen.