Top Level Starts at the Bottom

Learning and advancing is EXCITING STUFF, but mastery isn’t reached until basics are repeatedly practised and become flawless.
The top level attainable in fishing hinges off the basics; plus the pinnacle of your career is a direct reflection of applied basics.

We never ever move away from basics, as once mastered they simply become second nature actions, used daily. We may not think about them but subconsciously we apply them while consciously focusing on other variables not yet mastered.

Overlook the basic level and a crash occurs, because these fundamentals are essential for success.

We sometimes have Masterclass students making contact looking for realignment in their barra quest and the discussions always lead back to reestablishing basics.

Instant success comes their way after basics are reapplied, starting from the bottom.
Skipping the basics is a downfall.
You cannot climb a tall ladder without using the lower rungs. Intent might be set upon the end goal, (top of the ladder) but the process is the mandatory focal point.

It’s important to have goals and envisage success, but focusing on the ‘process’ of basic application in a building block manner is what sets anglers up to land fish of a lifetime. You cannot cut corners, skimp or use a half-arsed approach. You’re either ‘in’ or ‘out’, that’s how it boils down.

Repeat the basics, learn and master.

Do you do enough sounding and searching?
Do you want more strike chances in a day?
How many strikes do you miss?
How many jump offs occur?
How many big fish have chafed through leader to escape?
How many blown net shots have ended in lost fish?

If you need improvement in any of the areas above the answer always comes back to understanding and applying basics.

Boat Ramp Chats

When talking to coastal anglers after a weekend trip failure on any species (then asking a few questions), the evident flaw sticks out- a total absence of some of the most important applicable basics.

Guys return empty handed from a trip chasing species x y z, and discover they spent little time working on the bottom level tier, such as bait gathering. In failing to spend the time they never obtained the right bait and therefore spent time with part of the success equation missing.

Anglers often look for the secret weapon of success without realising it’s a tiered approach to learning and application of knowledge.

What use is knowledge if we dont apply it?
What use is knowledge if we don’t know how to apply it?


How is a house built?

*A solid base foundation connected to the earth.
*Next comes framing structure, built via a simplistic application of basics.

You cannot add a roof if there’s no structure and one cannot add guttering or solar panels or do anymore until the structure below is complete and rock solid. It’s what we call the ‘Controllable Elements’ explained in the Masterclass seminar.

Remember, your bottom tier content is as important as the high end Masterclass millimetre material.
The ‘millimetre, minute and to the second’ Masterclass micro content is the roof of the house, almost useless unless the basic structural content is applied………but when overlaid upon a stable platform it’s the valuable missing link between angler and fish.

Masterclass anglers adding to the growing list of 41 x 1200mm+ wild fish haven’t lucked in, they’ve understood and spent time refining the low level tier information, work on it, practice it, think about it, then APPLY it.

I see all too often anglers having ‘bad days’ where very few casts go anywhere near the target zone.


Are we serious about this or just hoping for things to fall into place? I’ve talked about focus and other details before in articles and instagram posts.

Mastery is about the entire package, having the low, mid and highest level information available- then working your arse off until that knowledge becomes a part of you, habitual, instinctual, but most of all done correctly, accurately, strategically, understanding what you have in hand, then applying it at a 10 out of 10 level.

….because, if we apply a basic fundamental at a 2 out of 10 level it’s highly likely to lead to end in failure.
In serious sports, repeated 2 out of 10 level application gets a player dropped from the team………and I’m sure you know why.

Set a standard, it’s yours, aim high, tick boxes, grow, develop, conquer….and master all skillsets.

Your true self will show, and if that self isn’t good enough, grow and change into the new you!

Outside your comfort zone sits some of the most exciting times in life.

Johnny Mitchell