Monday, 9 March 2009

A match angler's psychology

Just what makes a match angler tick? Simple, it’s all in the mind. This is a light-hearted synopsis into our sport and all of the emotions that make it enjoyable.

It is obvious that we all have a passion for angling; however, anticipation plays a great part in the angler’s psyche. It has been known for some anglers not to be able to sleep the night before a session as their excitement grows. In some cases the anticipation is almost fifty percent of the pleasure.

Along with the anticipation is the preparation. Days prior to the competition will be spent on contemplation where to gather bait, checking tackle and finding out information on what has been caught (an excuse to visit the tackle shop or the web sites). New methods and easy ways of catching are always in the forefront of our mind. Will that new rod and reel get you those extra yards to where the main shoals of fish are? Will the new rig give you the edge on your fellow competitors – you become exited and impatient to try it out? Nevertheless, under normal conditions it will be the bait and how it is presented that will be more successful – and not the number or colour of the beads that festoon your rigs. However, if that makes you confident then so be it, more on that subject later.

At the signing in before the comp there is normally an atmosphere of camaraderie (or bonding) and sussing out the opposition. As you make the first cast you have that feeling of confidence that this will be your comp – the fish are lining-up to jump on your hook. Having a negative attitude normally only produces negative results; therefore confidence is the most important aspect of winning.

Now it is only halfway through the match and you know that the angler at the next peg is beating you – it is then when anxiety and paranoia starts to creep in. And in the last half hour if the situation has not changed – then panic rears its ugly head.

As the weigh-in commences you are curious to know what the other anglers have caught. This knowledge will either bring you disappointment or elation. If you have won, then the feeling of smugness fills your head and you know that your competitive spirit has paid off and you have beaten the others (sort of being top dog for five minutes – or as the younger members would say ‘a major buzz’). As you collect the pool monies you get that sense of pre-eminence (lets face it, unless you win the big one, your winnings normally only cover bait, entrance fees and transport, therefore you’ve got to get something out of it – even if it is only in the mind).

However, if you lose then outwardly you become the good loser and congratulate the winners. Inwardly it is the bad losers who have that emotion of disenchantment and will think and consider where they went wrong. They will try to improve on the next comp and eventually become winners.

When you pack-up and go home, it is then that the whole session becomes an anti-climax in your mind. Mentally you have joined up the full circle of all the angling emotions – and then start to begin another one as you anticipate and plan the next competition.

So now Dr CELOCANT Freud will just recount some of the emotions that a match angler will come across:
Negative attitude

There you have it! it’s all in the mind. Ah, I hear you say, what about the physical side of angling like casting. Well, if you don’t think what you’re doing when you go through those actions – then look out! Thankfully we all have slightly more brain matter than the fish – but not always. Consider, if a salmon can migrate from a river in Scotland, go on a sabbatical for a few years, thousands of miles away, and then find their way back to the same river – underwater – then they’ve got more knowledge than Dr CELOCANT Freud.

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