Hook, Line & Thinker: Anticipating Change

by Steve Chaconas

Let’s talk tournament bass fishing this month. In single day events, catch as many fish as you can and bring back five big ones. However, multiple day events are tricky. There are another two hundred boats chasing the same five fish and fishing almost always varies day to day. Anglers must adjust.

A recent Bassmaster Open event featured big name pros, legends, and top regional and local anglers piled into Chesapeake Bay tributaries. It’s nearly impossible to find a sweet spot to yourself. Instead, many anglers fish the same massive grass beds, trying to find needles in grass edges where secret baits will perform for two consecutive fishing days enabling an appearance in the top ten to compete for the $100,000 prize.

Pro level bass tournament wins come once in a lifetime, but still excite 30 year veteran NJ BassCat pro Pete Gluszek, who has three wins under his championship belt.

Legendarily, his lead in the 2007 Hudson River tournament was so insurmountable he returned to the boat launch early and ordered a pizza!

Seeing the upper Chesapeake Bay scheduled for mid-September, Pete looked to work for another trophy. He considers the upper Chesapeake his home waters and has guided there for three decades. Tough late summer conditions were in Gluszek’s favor, but conditions change, even more with tidal fisheries.

Performing well on the first two days qualified Gluszek for the final day top 10 championship round. Ultimately, he finished third.

Into his mid 50s, the mental game outpaces physical demands, but Gluszek utilizes mental toughness with additional wisdom to recognize changing conditions.  Gluszek was thrilled to test himself against the best anglers in the world, just as when he began his pro career.  

“Now I’ve done 200 tournaments…nothing’s really brand new to me…done it 1,000s of times.” Solving evolving patterns, he calls it the ultimate hunt and executes his plan, adjusting as required.

Gluszek says if it takes too long to get over the disappointment of what worked yesterday isn’t working today, mental suppression prevents bites from coming and enthusiasm is lost, letting the wind out of your sails.

He actually anticipates the bite to go away and doesn’t plan on everything staying the same.

“You try what you did yesterday…similar conditions…best spot, then when you’re not getting bites…something has changed.”. Recognizing changes like weather fronts, tides, or boat pressure, requires adjustments. 

Gluszek saved guide trips by observing needed changes and adjusting.  

“Fish do not do the same thing for very long.”

Is it color, not working baits correctly? He says fish move. Why don’t people leave? Staying put limits the amount of water you can cover. The clock is ticking. The quicker you make decisions the better you’ll be. If they’re under positive conditions, keep moving. Cold front, slow down.

Vanishing youth, wisdom carries the day. Expecting change has made Gluszek more mentally prepared to compete.  But his legacy is Bass University where he’s conducted hundreds of in person and online instructional videos, hosting hundreds more with the top pros in the business. He is the Dean! 

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