To be a successful tournament angler it takes a lot more than knowing the techniques to catch quality limits of bass throughout the year. Being mentally tough and making the correct decisions on the water are arguably the most important and overlooked skills.
This mental toughness has helped 2012 Forrest Wood Cup Champion Jacob Wheeler rise to his success as a top angler on the FLW Tour.
At the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup, Wheeler faced a tough first day that would have broken most anglers’ spirits. After a great practice he struggled the first day sitting in 40th place. He did not let that discourage him and he would ultimately battle back to finish 2nd in the event.
“I just didn’t give up and gave 100% the entire time”, said Wheeler. “I knew I had found the fish to win the tournament during practice, however, a cold front came in and changed the bite. “
Wheeler did not get discouraged by this but kept giving his all and made small adjustments to make sure he made the cut for the third day.
“I didn’t know when the fish were biting and their feeding period switched up from first thing in the morning to afternoon. Going into the second day I knew that if I could make it to the third day then I would have a chance to make it to the fourth day.”
Wheeler capitalized on the second day with a solid 13-7 lbs. and made the cut for day three. He topped that with a 14-4 lb. bag the third day which put him in contention to win the tournament.
“The last three days of the event I fished flawlessly I caught all of my fish, I made all the right adjustments, I stayed when I needed to stay and left when I needed to leave. It was awesome opportunity to be able to fish the last day and have a chance to defend my title.”
“The mental aspect of the whole fishing game is more than anything. If your head isn’t in what you’re doing then you are out of it completely,” explained Wheeler. “Having equipment that you know works every time helps a lot mentally. I know I can fish up to the last minute of the final day, to crank my Evinrude and get back to the ramp on time.”
By Pat Snellings