Friday, January 16, 2015

Stay Hungry

I have always been a competitive person, just ask my brother. I don't know that I have always had something to prove to others, I do think I have always had a lot to prove to myself. I never did well with most sports, I definitely didn't do well in school, but I thrived on the race track when I was racing cars, not always winning, but always right there.

More recently I found competitive ice fishing, and now that's an addiction, it really is. I feed off the anticipation, the game planning and preparation. I have not always found the same success on the ice as I did on the track, but maybe that's the drive I need.

I can't wait for Wednesday, the day Wayne and I take off to South Dakota for the next chance at collecting the coveted "Wood", the trophy they give out for first, second or third in the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) events. That will be the next chance to push myself. Look, I know it's just a silly ice fishing tournament, it's not saving the world, I get it, but it's my track now, that's my arena. Everyone has one, be it at work, in the gym or where ever you push yourself to be better, that's the ice for me.

So like the photo depicts, I'm hungry. I'm hungry for success, I'm hungry to prove to myself I can do it, I'm hungry to show you too, that i can do it. Sure it's fun, it has to be or it's not worth it, but it's a battle ground on game day, and I am ready to fight. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thunderbird Lodge Partners with Hardwater-Angler.com!

Please welcome our newest partner to the Hardwater-Angler.com community, Thunderbird Lodge in Mitchell, South Dakota!

The Thunderbird has been gracious enough to offer 15% off your stay at the lodge for tournament anglers that mention the North American Ice Fishing Circuit when they book. Be sure to check out all the lodge has to offer including on-site laundry for drying clothes and a sauna and hot tub for warming up after a full day fishing in the elements!

Find the Thunderbird Lodge on Facebook here ----> Thunderbird Lodge

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Mental Element of Competition

No matter what level you compete on, from friendly bets to national tournaments, competitive ice fishing has a mental element. This element can be your best friend or worst enemy. From confidence to game planning, we must use our brains.

Going into a tournament, we all should be doing some homework. The mental game is already starting. As I study lake maps and read reports, my confidence is already building or failing. Confidence is a key element in fishing. It effects everything from effort to lure and bait selection. This past weekend, I fished a tournament on a lake that I have fun fished often for the last few seasons. In the past, we had no issues finding or catching crappie. Our confidence was so high, that we didn't even target crappie during our limited pre fishing time. Turns out the pattern changed. It took us too long to find fish. Or confidence killed us. Mental problems!

Planning is another essential. This year at the national championship, we had a clear plan on day one. When it didn't work as planned, we were desperate on day 2, and that translated to working negative fish, not catching them, but not adapting. That lead to a very poor finish. Mental issues.

So what is one to do? Learn from mistakes, for one. But more important, have a selective memory. Remember the party's of your mistakes that you need to learn from, but forget about the past poor results. Every tournament is a new day. Confidence, it can be your best friend! What we do all starts in your head, so we must controlor brains and use the mental aspect of the sport to our best advantage.

Preparing For a Tournament or Fishing Trip

When the first ice hits I starting marking on the calendar my trips and tournaments. I usually get down to the prep work as soon as possible. There is a huge list that usually starts with making a budget - gas, food, lodging, entry fees, mapping, more fishing supplies? That's all in consideration when making a budget, but what about the little things? The budget is something that can be saved up over time, but getting help from sponsors can help minimize the dollar amount you need to invest yourself.

I often get asked the question, "How much stuff do you really need to bring to go fishing?"  Mother nature can be a real bear, anything can and will break, so I bring extra everything. I'll have normal things like extra clothes, extra fishing equipment, and extra batteries for electronics, but the most useful item is a tool kit. My tool kit consists of wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, allen wrenches, I also carry a Flambeau tackle box full of nuts and bolts of many different sizes. We take along
augers, ATVs, and snowmobiles, lots of mechanical items that can fail. You never know when something catastrophic may happen.

When we get down to the final few days before leaving I find myself getting excited and spending lots of time on the Internet searching for any advice on the lake; I'm primarily looking for fishing information. Writing on forums is one way to communicate with the local fisherman who may give little tips or hot spots. I don't like to beg for info; I just simply tell them that I will be coming to the lake for a trip, you may be surprised at how welcoming most fisherman can be. The ultimate goal is to eliminate useless water before I even get there. Calling the local bait shops and DNR can be a big help too. You can conveniently go right on the DNR website and find just about anything from stocking info, water clarity and even a topographic lake map. Its amazing how much you can learn about a new body of water just by sitting on the couch.

My biggest tip I can give you is use the time you have before you leave wisely. One bad experience can be saved by being prepared. My favorite saying goes like this, 'Be prepared for the worst but expect the best'.

Good Luck, Stay Safe, and Tight Lines
Wayne