Sharpening Your Mental Game
Posted By Kris/ In Castaway Lodge Hunting Fishing / Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sharpening Your Mental Game

Castaway Lodge Seadrift Report
By Capt. Kris Kelley

Sponsored by: MercuryMarine; Air Ranger Airboats; Haynie Bay Boats; Baysport Marine Victoria; Castaway Rods; JL Marine; Pure Fishing; Corrosion X; and, Bob's MachineShop.

While there's a lot of content floating around out there, this is probably one for the "three ring binder" and I hope you enjoy it.

Duck Scene

Light shooting immediately post front has given way to a barrage of full limits on ducks and fishing seems to be on an upswing as well.  Hitting me at 7:45 on Tuesday morning, Capt. James Cunningham said "they'll be fishing this afternoon" which meant our guests had reached full limits on a mixed bag of Gadwall, Pintail, Mottled Duck, Canvasback and Redheads.  Great effort in the final days of the season and that's the true mark of a professional waterfowler. When things get tough, we get busy and it's best never to pre-judge tomorrow's results based on today's hunting or fishing.  Ha, i've seen days where the fishing is on a straight B-line downhill only to hit the water the next day and have them jumping in the boat.  That brings me to a few thoughts on what you can do to really kick your fishing or hunting experience into another gear. 

Garbage In: Tide Charts, Moon Phase, Fishing Prediction Calendars and the Likes

All of our boats are equipped with sophisticated GPS chartplotters. Their biggest use for us is to quickly glance at the tide movement as we're busting across the water in the wee hours.  Beyond that, we avoid looking at any other "fishing predictions". This may startle some but here's where we're coming from.  Many of these "prediction" sources show stretches of both good and bad days.  For us, we're fishing regardless of what this "media" may have to say.  Because it includes both positive and negative data, we avoid it like the plague.  Pre-disposition of success or failure doesn't belong in the "guide bag of tricks".  We hit the water aggressively everyday focused on the positive; seek and engage; find the fish and let's see what happens. That's worked well for me for nearly 30 years afield and on the water.  

Mental Game

A guest once told me a story about an excellent golfer that was in the same Q School as Master's Champion Ben Crenshaw.  The story goes that he never actually turned pro because Ben's "mental game" was a hairs width better than his own.  Given that, we have been trained to avoid the negative stimulus and focus on the positives.  A growing concern for today's sportsmen is the willingness to sign on to negative inputs and stimulus.  From moon phase charts to weather apps with "worthless" 10 day weather predictions and so forth, negative input seems to be at everyone's fingertips.  We recommend folks put this in proper perspective like the Recycle Bin and let us do our job.  Truth is, most folks can't fish or hunt when the stars all line up, they have to make a run when they have a chance.  If that's the case, avoid negative inputs and focus on relaxing and enjoy the time afield.

Negative Baggage

Early on I experienced various clients showing up at the ramp to fish with me that were carrying assorted negative baggage.  From oversleeping to flat tires in the morning, guests arriving late to the ramp were just freaked out because they thought I'd be mad or inconvenienced let alone their tribulations trying to get a tire fixed at 4:30 AM etc. I'd always pull them off to the side before they ever stepped foot on my boat and tell them to "relax, I'm not mad" the fish aren't in a hurry!  I'd tell them to take a deep breath and let all that stuff go before they got on the boat.  The reason is because I've seen the results of folks with turmoil and negative baggage absolutely devestate an outing.  For some guests, the baggage is pretty large and may not be anything that can easily be dropped off like a pending divorce; recent death in the family; etc.  It's hard to get your mind right when that stuff is going on but it's really necessary.  I've seen it single out a guest and identify them without them saying a word about it.  The one guy on the boat that just can't seem to catch a fish while everyone else is hammering them.  Tough day, tough situations and that's the nature of the business.

Clearing The Mechanism

Just like letting go of the stresses of dealing with a flat tire or oversleeping situations above, letting go of personal baggage and pre-dispotions of the days potential results are critical for success.  Pressure, it's a nasty word on the water and has no place in interaction with friends on a fishing trip or between a client and their guide. Adding pressure before an outing like "are we going to limit out"; "we expect this or that outcome" have no business in pre-communications with an outfitter, guide, or lodge.  If things are challenging success wise on our end, adding advanced pressure to an upcoming trip will only compound the situation negatively.  Most of our guests avoid this situation and if they don't, I'll train them up real quick.

Don't Ask If You Don't Want The Answer

Seldom there are many folks arriving here at the lodge that haven't asked us on the phone prior to arrival or immediately when showing up on site about "how the fishing or hunting was today"?  While it has little if any bearing on tomorrow's results, it is one of those questions that can affect the mental game.  I recommend avoiding these "pre-disposition" questions all together. 

Mental Game Tool Box

There are a myriad of tools out there for professional's that have to have a sharp mental game from professional fishing guides to Field Goal Kickers.  I've drawn on more than a handful of them over the years and they can be more powerful to the days success than what color soft plastic is working. I've offered a few of them in this report and they're a great place to start putting an edge on your mental game. 

Sweet 2016

Ah the number 16, it has special meaning in conversation and American Culture. From Winchester's "Sweet 16" to 16th birthday's and beyond, 2016 is shaping up to just be a great year.  We've started it off in full blown construction of a little over 11,000 square feet of comfort and affordable convenience. We'll be scaling to an ability to host up to 40 guests for the moment and that seems to have put us in favor with a number of larger corporate acounts which will be calling Castaway Lodge home.  Synergies between the best backdrop on the coast will set the stage for accomplishing the goals and objectives of our clients and that's certainly our mission.  

Stay tuned for more exciting news coming hot off the water by joining our newsletter HERE.


We've got our February 2015 Blowout Special going on right now featuring 30% off lodge package trips in February. Catch the details at "BUTTON UP FOR SAVINGS</b> 

Check dates and inquire at TEXAS STAYCATION</b>

#castawayonthebayou #castawaylodge #teamcastawaylodge

From The Family of Castaway Lodge, to yours....

Capt. Kris Kelley
Castaway Lodge
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