It’s easy to get too comfortable as an angler. You have some success with a particular bait or presentation, and next thing you know, it’s all you throw – which is fine when it’s working, but what happens when your old standbys aren’t producing like they used to?
Try another bait, that’s what!
As easy as that sounds, it’s much more difficult in practice. When you don’t have confidence, it’s hard to try a new presentation, and it’s hard to get confidence in a new presentation if you don’t fish it. It’s a vicious cycle.
Here’s 3 ways to break that cycle and gain confidence in a new bait.
Use it exclusively
Dedicate a portion of your time on the water to the new bait. A good way to do that is to remove the temptation of other baits. Say you want to learn how to drop shot. Throw 2 rods with drop shots tied up on the deck and lock the rest of your rods away.
Another way is to dedicate a portion of each trip to that technique. For example, if you want to learn how to throw a frog, try setting aside the last ½ hour of each trip to frogging. Put all the other stuff away, and go cover some water.
Use it correctly
If you’re trying to learn how to drop shot, it’s probably not a good idea to do it on a shallow weedy lake. If you want to get confidence in fishing deep rocks, you shouldn’t do it when the bass are up shallow spawning. In essence, make sure the conditions are reasonable for the new technique or you’re definitely not going to catch fish.
Don’t give up
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Seriously though, there’s a big temptation to go out, make 20 casts with a new bait, then put it down if you don’t catch anything. That’s the biggest urge you need to resist. There are many situations in which your confidence baits didn’t pay off for a stretch, but that doesn’t keep you from coming back.
In order to get confidence, you need to develop repetition. Don’t give up on a bait if you struggle to get bites the first time you pick it up. Try again and again, especially if it’s a technique you know others use successfully.