Determination. It is truly the only way to accomplish a desired goal, whether it be in life or specifically, as in my case, fishing. Fishing can be ultimately rewarding to those with the determination to be successful, and infuriating to others that may waiver in their dedication and determination.
In a world where success is measured by results produced, setting goals is very helpful. My primary goal was to become a better fisherman by putting my time in on the water and learning as much as possible from each outing. If I was able to do this, then my “results” of becoming a successful tournament and trophy angler would be achievable. Finally, and maybe the most important part of that goal, was to never let fishing become something that was no longer enjoyable.
Being very competitive and determined can have its drawbacks if not managed properly. I can recall times where I had multiple bad outings and tournaments in a row. These issues can be enough by themselves to discourage an angler. Combined with going through personal issues, which at different points I have, fishing had become no fun. Every time I failed at either catching a trophy bass, or placing highly in a tournament, it brought me down.
Like many of you, fishing for trophy bass and fishing in tournaments is a “hardcore” hobby of mine. It is what I am usually doing when not working. It can be expensive, time consuming, and both physically and mentally exhausting. To be successful it takes a lot of time on the water, an open mind, and the determination to work through all of the challenges to learn something. I had to go through my breaking point, to reestablish my fishing equilibrium. Looking back, it's easy to see that going through the tough days and learning nothing was my biggest failure. I learned the value of doing my homework, keeping an open mind and figuring out how to harvest new knowledge and information from every outing, regardless of whether it was a good day or bad day on the water.
The competitive fire to do well in tournaments and hunt lunkers burns in my belly once again. I look forward to each battle knowing I may lose some, but I will win the war. I am a fisherman, just one cast away from my next goal. If you have a dream and a burning desire to fulfill it, whether it's to become a sponsored Pro Angler, an outdoor photographer or a basket weaver is irrelevant. Determination to do your homework, put in your time and learn from every mistake will fuel your journey along the path to success.
About the Author
Jonathan "Tumbleweed" Stanco is a tournament angler, trophy bass hunter and motivational speaker. A spinal cord injury put him in a wheelchair at the age of 17, but would not keep him from pursuing his passion and inspiring others to do the same. He proudly represents Naked Bait Co. and Power Tackle.