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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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Confidence: Getting it and keeping it

Posted by Mark Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where does it come from? How do you get it? How do you loose it? What do you do if you loose it? How do you get it back?

 Sitting down confidence

It can come from many places at many different times.

It can come from ........

The fly you fish
The river you are on
The run you are in
Past success
The people you are with
The things you see on the river
The knowledge that you are doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.

Confidence is gained by time on the water pure and simple. I know it's over used but it is so true. PAY YOUR DUES!  It ain't gonna happen overnight. It takes years, heck lifetimes to have and gain confidence in every fishing situation.

Confidence can be lost when times are tough, you are between fish, you are having trouble keeping them hooked and so on.When you have lost all confidence in what you are doing, especially when swinging for steelhead, don't over think things. Do what you did in the beginning to build it up again. Fish hard, cover water with known and effective patterns. Don't try and reinvent the wheel and start fishing crazy patterns and techniques that you are not versed in. Stay focused on the goal. You are swinging flies for sea going trout not building a submarine. Your time will come again and you need to be fishing in a way that allows you to capitalize when the fish eats the fly again. Don't be way out of your comfort zone doing something stupid or outrageous when Mr. Steel decides to show up. In the same breath I will say sometimes doing a little something different may get your mind off your lack of confidence and on a new fly or run you haven't fished lately. Sometimes diversion can be good and keep you from going completely crazy. There are no hard and fast rules when you lack confidence but try to stay true to what has brought you success in the past.

Confidence comes in small packages sometimes

It happens to us all.  Confidence can come and go like the wind.  It only takes a split second for it to return and can stay with you for a very long time if you let it. We often let situations, people, conditions etc. erode our confidence.  You don't have to.

Confidence is the most valuable player in any ones steelhead game. The slightest bit can drive you to fish more carefully, cast more technically, and fish more efficiently.  The lack of confidence makes all of those factors I just mentioned non factors.  When you don't think you are gonna hook up, do you think you cast or fish very effectively? Not! You just want to be somewhere else.

Excuses start to emerge such as, the run doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel fishy, I hate this fly, it's too big, it's too small, to bright or too dark, the suns out, it's cloudy, the wind sucks, my off shoulder cast sucks, my leader is too long/short, my hook is dull, my waders leak, there are no fish in this run, someone was just in here, I haven't caught a fish in days or weeks or years,this will never work. All of these thoughts and more go through your head when you lack confidence.

I'm so confident I have my hand in my pocket just chillin

Mind and soul are easily mislead. Doubts start to creep in. You seriously think about taking up another sport. Your mind wanders to anything but the here and now.  You are drifting, you are waffling in that world between supreme dedication to a given pursuit and throwing in the towel. You say "I've given this sport a good run, maybe golf is in my future"......

And then the line snaps tight, the reel screams and all doubts are washed away in one glorious moment and guess what, look who just walked in.....your confidence.

Renewed Confidence

Most of all remember where your ultimate confidence should lie........

“For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”  Prov. 3:26

 “I am determined and confident!  I am not afraid or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.”  Josh 1:9

 “God guards me, keeps me in perfect and constant peace because my mind is stayed on Him, because I commit myself to Him, lean on Him, and hope confidently in Him.”  Is 30:15

See ya on the river!


  1. Great post Mark! Your words are so true. One must fish with confidence to find success with steelhead. As some friends and I have discussed, fishing a surface fly with regularity takes a supreme kind of faith/confidence.

    Thanks for the scriptures to remind me of where my ultimate confidence lies - He is truly my rock and my redeemer.


  2. Flyers66 Says:
  3. Awesome Post Mark,
    Confidence can be frustratingly fleeting-but it's only fishing right...!
    There is a well of it available if we sit down and open our hearts to God and prayer; and his blessing such as rivers like the NU...
    As Todd expresses, keep skatin' good water and have faith that it will happen!

  4. mia Says:
  5. Nice and thanks for the reminder that it comes in small packages.


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