intr.v. slumped, slump·ing, slumps
1. To fall or sink heavily; collapse: She slumped, exhausted, onto the sofa.
2. To decline suddenly; fall off: Business slumped after the holidays.
b. To perform poorly or inadequately: The team has been slumping for a month.
3. An extended period of poor performance, especially in a sport or competitive activity
I’ve heard it said that the first thing one must do to confront a problem, is to admit that one exists. Well, I can confirm that one exists. By my watch, today is the 21st day of the new year, and I’ve yet to catch a single fish. I’m mortified to have told you that, but for one to move forward, one must come clean. So I’m told.None of my shame is to be associated with a lack of effort. In the new year, I’ve fished farm ponds for bass, spillways for crappie, lakes for pike, beach fronts and inlets for stripers, and creeks for trout. I’ve come up empty every time, and I’m getting tired of it. Certainly decreased catches are expected as winter sets in, and fish become more lethargic and I spend less time outdoors. Fishing has always slowed for me at this point on the calendar, but it’s never thrown the brakes on quite like this. The other day, I went to a reliable pan fish pond with a reliable set of flies, just to get a bend in the rod and break the slump. Needless to say, the slump is still alive.
I went looking for advice in the only place I knew I could get some: Not from Lefty Kreh or Tom Rosenbaur, but from the only people that seem to understand the seemingly unshakeable slump, who feel it’s icy grip, and who know how to turn things around – Baseball, and it’s players.
“Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting”. – Yogi Berra
Quite, Yogi. Quite.
Yogi was full of these kind of one liners. Little nuggets of nonsensical wisdom that didn’t always make sense but always made everyone laugh. But here, he has a point. I may not have made contact in the last twenty days, but I haven’t stopped going to the water. Maybe an attitude adjustment is in order – I’m not in a slump, I’m just not catching fish.
“To cure a batting slump, I took my bat to bed with me. I wanted to know my bat a little better.” – Richie Ashburn
When the late Richie Ashburn is quoted, I pay attention. When you are a dedicated Philadelphia Phillies fan, as I am, Ashburn holds a special place in the baseball corner of your heart, even though I could never have seen him play. Ashburn was the center fielder of the 1950’s Phillies known as the Whiz Kids, had a lifetime batting average over .300, and was the man who gunned down the Dodger’s Cal Abrams with a rocket toss to home plate, preserving the tie game and setting the stage for Dick Sisler’s pennant winning moon shot.
While all of this is true, I’m not sure I’m going to bring my rod to bed. Sure, getting to know the my rods better is always a good idea, but I think I can do a better job of accomplishing this along a stretch of water.
All of this, of course, is a way of saying I would, but the bed is not mine alone, and the lady who shares it with me will not share it much longer, should she find herself snuggling up to a 5wt.
“We are in such a slump that even the ones that aren’t drinkin’ aren’t hittin’.” – Casey Stengel
Ahh, Stengel. Not a favorite of mine for his time between the lines, but more so for his quick wit and charisma. This is, after all, the man who once claimed to having been fired for turning 70 years old, and remarked that he would “never make that mistake again.”
Stengel’s theory here suggests that the drinkers on the squad a re the first to fall victim to the slump. I don’t know about that, but I do know of a friend, five years sober, who showed me a picture of a monstrous bass he caught last week. Something to think about? Nah. I refuse to believe there is any correlation between tee totaling and catching fish. 90% of the fisherman I know manage to obliterate that theory on a regular basis.
“If I’m in a slump, I ask myself for advice.” – Ichiro Suzuki
“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” – Hank Aaron
Well, Hammerin’ Hank knows adversity beyond, you know, “wah, I can’t catch a fish”. And in the end, all you can do is keep swinging. Keep showing up, keep casting, keep fishing. Simple as that.
I’m tempted to tell you of how former Cubby Mark Grace suggests one break his slump. I’ll let you decide if you want to explore that little crude, yet hilarious manner of “slump-busting” on your own. Needless to say, I prefer to keep toiling in fish-less-ness until the slump is well and truly busted. This too, shall pass…..