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John's Journal... Entry 25- Day 1

click to enlargeThe "Loser" Who Won

Surprisingly the most critical element in your ability to find and take bass doesn't depend just on your knowledge of the bass's seasonal patterns, your ability to read a topographical map, your casting skill or even your expertise in selecting lures to match water and weather conditions. The best bass fishermen in the world name the trait of having a positive attitude as the key ingredient to their catching more bass and winning more tournaments.

Many fans who kept up with the standings on the professional bass-fishing circuits considered Dion Hibdon of Stover, Missouri, a great guy but a loser in bass-fishing tournaments. Thirty-year-old Hibdon had fished professionally all his life, entering 120 B.A.S.S. tournaments but never winning an event. He always walked in the shadow of his famous father Guido, winner of the 1988 BASS Masters Classic.

click to enlargeHowever, you probably couldn't find a more knowledgeable angler on the professional bass-fishing circuits than Dion Hibdon. All his life father had trained him how to catch bass. Even though Dion had earned over $243,000 in tournament fishing, an average of $2.025 in each tournament he fished, he just couldn't win. He never seemed to locate enough bass or catch the numbers of bass needed to win a major bass-fishing tournament.

Realizing that Dion had all the tools he needed to become a winner, his father recommended he visit a sports psychologist in California to help Dion develop a winning attitude. During the 1997 season, Dion Hibdon spent time with the psychologist and learned how to think like a winner.

click to enlargeIn the 1997 BASS Masters Classic held in Birmingham, Alabama, many believed the hometown favorite, Dalton Bobo, would win the crown of champion. Each day of the tournament Bobo moved up in the standings. On the final day, Bobo had a tremendous catch of bass in his livewell. Several other fisherman had a chance also to win. Although Hibdon stayed in the top 10 throughout most of the tournament, few press interviewed him. Probably not many of the spectators took him seriously as a threat to win, primarily due to his record.

However, these people didn't know the secret Hibdon carried with him throughout the tournament or the change that had taken place in this former loser. Hibdon now believed he could win.

Anglers fish the BASS Masters Classic to win -- not merely to place or to catch enough bass to keep from becoming embarrassed at the weigh-in scales. And Hibdon fished with the attitude that he could find and catch more bass than any other bass fisherman in the tournament.

click to enlargeWhen Hibdon's boat came into the arena to the cheers of thousands, and Hibdon walked to the scales with his bag of bass, in his heart he knew he had fished good enough to win. When the officials put Hibdon's bass on the scales and declared the final weight, Hibdon the loser became the best bass fisherman in the world for 1997 and won the BASS Masters Classic.

During the 1997 fishing season, the only difference between Dion Hibdon, the perpetual loser, and Dion Hibdon, the champion of the 1997 BASS Masters Classic, was his belief that he could think, "more bass," and win by finding and taking more bass than he'd ever caught before in his life. The sports psychologist helped to convince Hibdon that he could win and to develop a winning attitude. Then Hibdon went on to prove that attitude is everything when it comes to finding and catching more bass.

Tomorrow: "As A Man Thinketh In His Heart, So Is He"


Check back each day this week for more about bassing's secret weapons...

Day 1 - The "Loser" Who Won
Day 2 - "As A Man Thinketh In His Heart, So Is He"
Day 3 - Don't Get Distracted By Other Anglers
Day 4 - Fish Your Best Spots
Day 5 - Expect To Have Your Best Tournament Ever

John's Journal