Just recently my good friend Brad Crum and I were fortunate enough to be granted about an hour of Rick Clunn’s time. Let me be the first to say that he is an unbelievable person and an incredible professional. The conversation we engaged in with him was nothing like any other seminar, magazine article or outdoor show I have ever come across. Unlike what many of the high circulation magazines and internet articles lead you to believe, he is not some crazed spiritualist with improvable ideas; rather, he is a normal man who has mastered his craft and come to understandings far deeper than most people will ever realize.
Our conversation began like most seminars do with technical information such as throw this bait here with this retrieve at this time of year. I asked him his thoughts on how the Kentucky Lake BFL Regional I was going to be fishing in a couple of weeks would be won; not surprisingly, he nailed it on the head. However, I came to this conversation wanting more than the average run-around. I wanted some real content. I was looking for something that, if put into practice, would take me to the next level in my career. Here is what I got.
I steered the conversation in a new direction by asking Rick what he, as one of the elites in the sport, was doing to improve. I told him I know that I can achieve more but I do not know what to do to up the ante. He said that he has begun to study what other pros are doing. He wants to learn everything possible from them, both what to do and what not to do. You need to be around those who are better than you in some area in order to learn from them, yet you also need to notice the mistakes that others make so that you can more readily assess when you might make that same mistake and adjust.
The next thing he said was that most of his improvements now are mental. That comes as no surprise to anybody who knows anything about Rick Clunn. So I asked him to elaborate. He gave me the old adage that “we are our own worst enemy.” Instead of cursing the 20mph frigid wind when you are trying to pitch up behind a dock, you must be wholly focused on what needs to happen in order to make it work was the anecdote he gave up.
We began to discuss in depth the ideas of people like Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey and Anthony Robbins and how their teachings apply to the sport of fishing. We discussed Native American religious beliefs while he pulled out a dollar bill and explained the significance of the eagle and the arrows it holds. We discussed quantum physics and the beliefs that it surfaces. He brought up the ideal of peak performance and discussed how we can achieve it, stating that what separates the great fisherman from the average is the ability to kick themselves into peak performance the last two hours of any tournament after everybody else is either comfortable with what they have or have given up. I have never met another individual that could apply such ideals to tournament fishing.
What I got from this conversation was: surround yourself with high achievers, focus on the solution instead of the problem, always stay in a positive frame of mind and practice the ability to achieve peak performance when you need it most. The technical information is always there. If you need to know what baits work where and when, there is an issue of Bassmasters magazine that will give you the answer. However, if you want to accomplish the feats of the world’s greatest, I suggest you follow Rick Clunn’s advice; I know I will be.