Mental Performance

Personal Best: Fishing and Life (an excerpt)

July 5, 2015

Following is a small sample of a novel I wrote. While it is a fictional story, it is loaded with very real information. Follow along behind the scenes of tournament bass fishing as the voice in this angler’s head wrestles with highs and lows, unexpected dangers, true friendship, lies and scandals in pursuit of his personal best.

Many people have told me after reading it they felt inspired to improve their approach to fishing and/or life. This is a great place to start your transformation to your personal best! In fact, here is what legendary angler, Rick Clunn, had to say: “I sincerely enjoyed it. I would recommended it as a good model and example that you can touch perfection in what you love to do as long as you do it in a correct and pure way.” -Rick Clunn (4-time Bassmaster Classic Champion)


Chapter 9  Just a Taste

Well, that was a pretty solid practice day I think to myself as I pull up to the dock. I probably would have weighed in about 15 pounds and I didn’t even beat up any spots. Once I caught a decent fish or had several keeper bites, I left the area immediately. I have three different patterns working pretty well. I haven’t seen anything in the weather or pool level predictions that lead me to believe tomorrow should be any different. Yep, I’m feeling pretty confident.

I received two of my new books earlier this week. I got a chance to study one pretty thoroughly, and skimmed the important points of the other. Although I didn’t really have time to do any of the psychological training techniques, the concepts have given me a real boost. Just realizing that the way I control my thoughts will have a major impact on my experience is a big deal. Ideally, I would have a day where I wouldn’t have to consciously reach into my new bag of tricks,  but it’s giving me a lot of confidence just knowing I have a plan in place.

I back my trailer down the ramp until my taillights disappear just under the surface of the water. As I’ve done a thousand times before, I use the big motor to ease my boat backwards away from the dock. I line the point of the nose up with the trailer winch and gently begin my approach. Then, just as the hull makes its first contact with the trailer’s carpeted bunks, the boat shudders hard and there’s a loud mechanical, banging noise as my prop hits something solid and immoveable under the water. Visibility in the river’s murky depths is relatively low, so there’s no way to confirm what I hit, but a quick inspection once I’m in the parking lot reveals some significant damage. There are several deep gouges on the blades of the prop, and the entire leading edge of one blade is folded forward. It’s amazing how quickly this sort of thing can happen. I was driving about as slowly as the boat will go. I had the motor trimmed up, but apparently not high enough. I spin the prop and watch closely. I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like the shaft may be bent. I spin it again and focus hard on a dot in the center of the end of the prop shaft. If that center point moves as the prop spins, that’s bad. I spin it again, hoping my eyes are playing tricks on me. I’m pretty sure it’s bad.

I sort through the back deck storage compartment, and uncover my spare prop and the socket wrench I need to change it. Unfortunately, this only solves the smaller part of my problem. A bent prop shaft allows oil to leave the lower unit gear case while water replaces it. Without oil to keep the gears lubricated, I’m driving a ticking time bomb. Replacing a bent prop shaft is relatively affordable. Replacing a blown lower unit is thousands of dollars. Plus, my insurance will cover the repair now, but if driving it as is causes bigger problems, I’m on my own.

As I kneel on the rough gravel parking lot, and loosen the big nut that holds my old prop, I start to think about my plan for tomorrow. My favorite area from today’s practice is about 20 miles upriver. The closest spot was about 12 miles. I think it would be risky, and frankly stupid, to even attempt the shorter run. The areas I liked were major secondary sloughs, not main river, but not far from it. Most of my fish were on the downstream ends of islands, especially if there were some logs and timber piled up on the break. I can picture a couple islands within a mile or so of the takeoff. I’ll have to take a look at the map tonight and see if there’s anything else that fits that description nearby. I’ll just have to stay close and drive slowly. I’m sure I’ll find some fish.

I slide the backup prop on, secure the big nut that holds it in place and give it a spin. Looks better from a distance anyway. Then I stop and stand up behind my boat. Suddenly it dawns on me that I am relatively unphazed by this tragic turn of events. Normally, I would have asked, “Why me?” Normally, I would have started practicing my excuse speech. Now, I just dealt with it and stayed focused on catching fish. My confidence is still surprisingly high. This could be the difference between the consistent finishers and everybody else. Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I can’t wait for tomorrow.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this sample. If you did, the book is available on Amazon, iTunes and at Barnes & Noble. You’ll find it as a traditional printed paperback, an eBook, or even as an audiobook read by yours truly. And, here is a link



Keep Fishing Forward!

-Kurt Mazurek

No Comments

Leave a Reply