Achieving Greatness in your Fishing Game

August 2nd, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Tips

Setting goals in life helps you work harder to achieve greatness. Why, because we outline what we want ahead of time; putting more pressure and accountability on ourselves to actually produce results. We push ourselves to put our money where our mouth is, which is risky. Most of us want to be able to back up our promises, even if it is just to ourselves.

I personally put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and accomplish what I set out to do. Not because I am trying to impress anyone else, but because I want to be proud of myself. Success can mean many different things to different people, but one thing is constant across the board; it is important to all of us. Whether being successful means having monetary riches or social stature, we all have our own vision of what it is to be successful. When my time’s up, I want to “check out” of life knowing I left no stone unturned, no adventure untraveled and no regrets.

To me, success is trying and learning new things by stepping outside of my comfort zone; being proud of the results I was solely responsible for. Seeing the world along the way and ultimately being able to say “I am happy”.

Each year, I push myself harder when it comes to fishing. During the winter, I set goals for the upcoming fishing season, and then work my “tail” off to achieve them. Some people ask if this takes the fun out of fishing. I think it does just the opposite. The more time you put out on the water, I don’t care who you are, you set silent goals for yourself. You may call them “wants”, but ultimately they’re goals. “This year I just want to catch a Bluefin Tuna”. Even though it is a “want”, it is also a goal of yours. You probably put all your efforts, time and money into reaching that goal. And how fun is it when you actually have your “goal” at the end of your fishing line? I can tell you personally, the grin on your face will last for days, if not weeks.

Goals help us stay on target; they give us focus. Even if you don’t reach your exact goal, you may be surprised at how much better your game is as a direct result of just striving to achieve it. I have met many people, been introduced to the “right” tackle and caught more fish as a direct result of this. It forces you to learn and essentially “earn” more.

Top 5 Goals for 2011

(1) Put more time out on the water this year vs. last year. The more time you put on the water, your chances of catching a fish of a lifetime increases. Anglers who catch 70 pound stripers put a hell of a lot of time into fishing. They don’t just go out one Saturday afternoon and win the lottery. If it were that easy, they wouldn’t be called “fish of a lifetime”.

Current Standing: Last year the majority of my fishing was done in the fall. So far I have logged more time and I strongly plan on racking up the days out there.

(2) Keep better fishing logs. This is a difficult, but essential goal of mine. If you’ve attended fishing seminars or know a network of fishing professionals, you are well aware of the importance of fishing logs. Keeping track of each day you spend out there fishing will improve your game tenfold. Logging where you fished (exact coordinates/waypoints), what species you caught and at what times, what the wind direction was, water temperature and what tides you fished will help you build a book of success. It will cut down on the amount of time you spend on the water “not catching”. This is a tough one for me because I tend to get caught up in the moment of fishing and forget to write everything down.

Current Standing: The first handful of flounder trips I did, I will come clean and say that I did NOT keep an accurate log. That has changed and I now log everything – down to the inches, pounds, exact time each fish was caught, where, how, what tackle was used, wind direction, wave conditions, tide and water temps. Next year I will be thanking myself and saving myself a lot of time and heartache.

Previous Year's Fishing Log

(3) Achieve a Personal Best. To me, size is a factor and does matter. Catching bigger fish each year and achieving a personal best is a constant goal, and a “BIG” one of mine. I never compare myself to other recreational anglers or set out to beat them. The only angler I’m competing against is me, and I’m one tough competitor.

Current Standing: First fish of the season for me is the winter flounder. I am proud to say that I have achieved this goal. Last year’s personal best was 3lb. 3oz, this year was 3lb 13oz. My largest striped bass last year was 38lbs and largest bluefish was 12lbs. I am still aiming to beat both of them. Stay tuned….

(4) Catch a new species. This goal is also an important one for me each year. Living in Boston and close to the Cape, I am fortunate to have many species available to go through before I have to start visiting the West Coast and other countries. This is the exciting factor of fishing. Learning the feeding habits, favorite hang-outs and fighting techniques of new species. The excitement of the unknown, the hunt and ultimately the experience of catching exactly what you set out for in the seemingly endless ocean is a great thrill.

Current Standing: I have knocked this one out of the park. I took a trip to the Cape and caught Scup for the first time. I went to FL and caught Mahi-Mahi, Amber Jacks, Permits and Tarpon. This is the biggest achievement so far for me and I would be one lucky gal if this goal is beat next year.


(5) Travel to a new fishing destination. If you set one goal for yourself, seriously consider this one. Experiences are irreplaceable. If you travel to a new fishing destination, you are not only experiencing a new fishing scene, but so much more. From culture and dining choices, to history and architecture, your trip will allow you and your family to experience time together and memories that will last a lifetime.

Current Standing: This was an easy one for me. Not so much for my wallet, but this is what we work so hard for. We should get in the habit of rewarding ourselves and taking a break from the daily grind. We went to the Florida Keys for a 2 day fishing trip and 2 day discovery, relaxation trip. We had a blast and the times of our lives. One piece of advice: if you have this as your goal….make it another goal to book more vacation time than you think you should. We all do this. We feel like we are taking too much time and the working world can’t go on without us. The truth is, the working world will reap the rewards too if you take a longer vacation and come back a new person; fully invigorated and happy.

Setting goals is easy…doing the legwork is difficult…achieving them is greatness.

My Ultimate Goal

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