I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject and my tournament performance in general over the winter. A lot of my successes have come when I’ve been able to put a flipping stick in my hand and go for what I know. With that in mind, I’ve tried to put myself (in tournament situations) in the mind set that I’m going to try and spend as much time as possible with a long rod in my hands. I have a ton of confidence that I can and will catch fish on a jig,

Well I’m sure everyone out there has that one technique that they feel this way about.

I began to think about how this could apply to everyone/anyone. We each have a technique or bait that we always feel like we’re going to catch fish when we use, we have confidence in it.

What does having confidence in a bait/technique do for us? It puts us in the mind frame that we can or will catch a fish on any cast. So we’re more attentive during the retrieve, we’re more precise with our presentations, in short, we focus on catching fish! We are not questioning whether you’re working the bait correctly or making the proper presentation.

So, I say to you: When it matters the most or when you really want to catch a fish, put away all those other rods and baits, get out the ONE that you have the most confidence in and go to work!

Now, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t learn other techniques or become familiar with other baits. You must be versatile, because there will be days when they (the fish) will bite other baits or presentations better than your “go to” bait/presentation. That is what practice time on the water (when you go to the lake just to learn a bait/technique) is for. Ultimately the goal is to feel confident about using a multitude of baits/presentations and then being able to use/choose the best tool for the conditions you’re facing on the water that day with complete confidence that you will catch fish.

There is no substitute for time on the water!

Rusty White of Rock Hill is a professional fisherman and full-time guide on the Catawba chain of lakes, offering full- and half-day services. For more information, visit fishingwithRusty.com.