CLIFF CROCHET: Simplification and Short-Term Focus Are My Keys for 2021 - Major League Fishing

CLIFF CROCHET: Simplification and Short-Term Focus Are My Keys for 2021

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Cliff Crochet writes how he hopes to improve his performance in 2021. Photo by Garrick Dixon
February 10, 2021 • Cliff Crochet • Angler Columns

I’m going to be honest with you guys—my 2020 season was a downright catastrophe. I finished 79th out of 80 anglers in the Bass Pro Tour AOY standings and just didn’t have a good season. While I’m more than ready to put my 2020 fishing season behind me, I will always appreciate the year 2020 for other reasons.

COVID-19 obviously caused a lot of issues to my fishing schedule, but it also gave me some much-needed family time. My twins were born early on in the 2020 season, right before we all went into lockdown. While I missed fishing and competing, it was really important for me to get that time in with my newborn children. I really consider it a blessing, honestly.

On the water, I didn’t do a very good job. When you try to push too much and try too hard to make things happen, that’s never good. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I did for much of the season.

Stick to the Main Subject

The goal for me in 2021 is simple: just do what works. Bass fishing is kind of like going back to school in some ways. You’re taught ways to be successful in school by your teachers. For example, when you had to write a paper in high school or college, your teachers always made you draft an outline. Like this:

  1. Subject 1
    1. Subpoint
      1. Example
      2. Another example

Think of this in terms of treating your paper outline like your fishing strategy. I spent a lot of my time worrying about those subpoints and examples, rather than worrying about the main body of my paper that’s the meat and potatoes of it all. I was trying to do too much and branch too far away from my original game plan just to find something that worked.

For example, when we were at Lake Fork in March, the equation for success was right in front of me.

It’s March, in Texas, and water temperatures are around 60 degrees. That’s spawning 101 for those Texas bass. Any experienced fisherman knows that and knows how to be successful on that lake at that time. Instead, I tried to stray too far away from the simple solution, trying to make other things work that weren’t going to.

I have a lot of stories like that from 2020 that I’m hoping to change in 2021.

I have this motto that I try to follow when it comes to the fishing season: I never look past the next tournament.

We’re a little less than two months away from Stage One on Sam Rayburn. I haven’t even looked at booking hotels or travel for any of the tournaments after that because I’m truly just focused on this next tournament, and putting all my time and energy toward that. To stay sharp and stay focused on the task at hand, I can never look past what I’m first approaching.

That strategy has helped me (and probably hurt me a little) during my career so far, but I’m going to stick to it. Something’s got to change for me in 2021, and I’m hoping simplifying my approach and not looking too far ahead will be exactly what I’m looking for come March.