You often hear about someone having natural talent. Not everyone will agree with me but I’m a firm believer in it. Some anglers have it, and some wish they had it. But I don’t believe natural talent is all about fishing. There’s more to it than that.
What I mean is that hunters who have natural talent seem to have it when they go fishing too. And it’s the same with anglers. Those who have natural talent on the water seem to have it in the woods. It’s an outdoors thing, in my opinion. Whatever is happening when they’re outdoors seems to come naturally to them. They’re true outdoorsmen and women.
A lot of the anglers refer to natural talent as “it.” So when you’re around them and they say a guy has “it” that’s what they mean.
I also believe there’s natural talent in a lot of other things. Some people seem to be born for what they’re doing — golf, bowling, basketball, whatever. It’s like you can work at something and become pretty good at it, but if you have natural talent you’ll be better than good.
The work thing is just as important though. Without it natural talent won’t get you to the top. If you look at the great professional bass anglers, regardless of what era they fished in, they also worked hard to perfect their craft.
You see a lot of them on the water all the time, tournament or not. They practice casting, and they’re already really good at it. They fish lures with different tackle and line to see how the action or depth of a lure changes. They swap out hooks to see which model works best under which circumstances. In short, they don’t rely on talent alone.
Of course, how much they work is somewhat controlled by their stage of life and general circumstances. Maybe they don’t have anything that takes their time besides fishing.
When I look at my own life, I realize that I don’t have the natural talent of some of the guys fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series. I don’t work as hard as some of them either.
My wife, Lindsey, and my kids, Kei and Linnie, are the most important things in my life. I spend a lot of time with them at home and at their athletic events. And their moral development is important so I also make sure there’s plenty of time for church and community activities. I do the best I know how to be a good husband and a good father.
All of that takes away from what I can do as far as work and practice is concerned. I’m sure that hurts my fishing sometimes, but you’ll never hear me complain. I set my own priorities. I’m good with that.
I also won’t criticize anyone who has chosen a different path. What I am saying is that there is natural talent, but success is about more than just that. If you expect to be great, you’d better be willing to pay your dues and not complain about it regardless of how much natural talent you might have.