A Peek Into the Mind of Gary Klein

July 5, 2015

by Kurt Mazurek

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with legendary angler, Repel, Triton, Mercury, Elite Bassmaster Pro, Gary Klein. The topic of our discussion was the psychology of fishing (big surprise to anyone who has read any of my other blog posts). As the only angler in history to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic in five separate decades, Gary is very wise about the mental aspects of successful angling. In fact, upon reviewing our conversation, there was more information and more topics than I could fit in one story. I’ve decided that instead of the traditional blog post story format, I’ll just step back and present a list of condensed, “wisdom nuggets” to give you a peek into the mind of one of the fiercest, steadiest competitors of all times, Gary Klein.
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According to Gary, one of the unique aspects of this sport is that everyone has their own way to succeed. If you asked ten anglers the best way to approach a situation, you would get ten different answers. The interesting part is that all ten of them may be correct. The key is understanding your way and knowing how to apply it to the current conditions.

Tournament fishing teaches self-reliance. The wins and the losses are completely your own (Gary never fished team tournaments) . Plus, fishing teaches you more about the person you are than any other profession. The lessons he has learned in fishing have shaped his whole life. Gary is very comfortable with the person and the competitor that he has become.

He is, and always will be, a student of the sport.

Gary is mechanically very proficient. The biggest challenges he faces come from within. Success is simply a matter of making the right decisions.

He is thrilled by the fact that companies like Triton, Mercury, Quantum, Berkley, MotorGuide, Lowrance, and really the entire fishing industry, have increased the quality of their products to a level that has changed his approach. When he started his career in the late 1970s it was a constant battle to make sure your trolling motor batteries would keep working all day, or your line wouldn’t fail, or your big motor would start. Now he can focus on time of year, type of lake, species of fish, and current conditions…period. These physical improvements in equipment have a very direct affect on his mental game.

He likes to be one of the first competitors to have his boat in the water on tournament mornings to allow himself a few minutes of quiet time before the day begins.  He’ll use this time to organize his thoughts about where he wants to start and what he’ll be looking for. However, he is quick to point out that he never totally commits to this plan because so much of fishing is reacting to current conditions.

You can be as good as you want to be in this sport. Physical limitations, for the most part, will not stand in the way of your success.

Never measure the success of an angler (including yourself) based on the results of a single tournament, or even a season. It takes a career/lifetime to see the whole picture.

Gary describes himself as a guy who loves to fish. When all is said and done, he hopes his legacy is that of a man who lived his dream. Furthermore, Gary hopes his story will inspire others to follow their dreams.

Like I said, we touched on a lot of topics, but I thought they all had merit. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving anything out. I hope you found a “nugget” or two in there that you can apply to your own game. If nothing else, follow your dream! Special thanks to Gary Klein.

Keep Fishing Forward

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