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Nial Fuller

Professional Trader, Author & Coach

What Pro Fisherman Can Teach You About Trading

shutterstock 91236104A professional fisherman has much in common with a professional trader. They both must learn their craft to the point of mastery and doing so develops a refined ability to ‘feel’ the sea or the market. There’s much you can learn from a professional fisherman that will help you improve your trading…

The example of a highly-skilled yet sickeningly patient fisherman out-fishing all his competitors is a very good metaphor that we can use to help you better understand what it takes to become a professional trader. Both professions require many of the same attributes such as; an insatiable desire to master the craft, continuously learning and expanding one’s knowledge and skill, the desire to do whatever it takes to win, and more. All of the aforementioned attributes require intense passion, discipline and patience; things that those who never go pro simply do not have, at least not at the necessary levels.

Let’s dive into this in more detail…

Read the market like a fisherman reads the water…

The first thing you need to learn from successful fishermen to apply to your trading, is that you need to read the market like a fisherman reads the water conditions. As I alluded to above, a fisherman will consider many variables BEFORE they cast their line into the water, because they know that to not do it will essentially mean they are shooting in the dark, so to speak.

As discussed in the Discover Boating article “The best times to go fishing“.

Experienced anglers will even tell you that when to fish can also be affected by where to fish. Too many hot days during the summer can adversely affect fishing in shallow lakes, ponds, and rivers since higher water temperatures can reduce oxygen in the water and cause fish to become sluggish.

Commercial and recreational fishermen use their extensive knowledge of both when and where to fish to significantly improve their catches. These fishermen take various factors into account, including but not limited to; predicting tides as well as understanding tidal currents, how much sunlight an area of water has received recently, warming or cooling trends, the depth at which fish are found, storm and weather patterns, wind and tidal flows when saltwater fishing. In some areas, strong tidal currents will concentrate bait and small fish, which attracts larger fish. As you can see, there is a multitude of variables that go into professional fishing operations, much more than the average person thinks.

As a trader, you need to understand how to read the market just as a fisherman reads the water. You must understand the market’s ebb and flow before you go ‘casting your bait’ or your money into the market. It’s important that you study the market and read it like you would a book; you should know what happened on the previous page to understand the current page. So, get intimate with a market and really learn it’s idiosyncrasies and become a master of it, just as a fisherman is a master of reading and understanding the different variables that affect water conditions to attract fish.

Professional fishermen are ‘snipers’…

Professional fishermen behave very much like a sniper in the military, a concept I have discussed in a past article here. A pro fisherman doesn’t move around constantly because they would cost more fuel, time and labor preparing rigs each time they move, and of course more bait. They are seasoned professionals who strategically plan where to fish, reading the ocean and weather as discussed above, to give them an edge.

How many times have you heard me talking about your trading edge in my articles? Well, there’s good reason for it. Just as a fisherman needs an edge or a strategy to catch fish, so you need an edge in the market. Your edge is what puts the odds of trading success in your favor, and it requires you to be educated and prepared, just as a professional fisherman is.

Does a professional fisherman just wake up and run out to his boat and zoom off to the middle of a lake or ocean and cast his line into the water? No. Of course, now, and you know he doesn’t. So, when looking at it from this perspective, how silly does it seem for you to go open your charts up and just enter a trade for basically no reason? Very silly indeed.

Just as a fisherman plans when and where to fish for the best possible haul, you need to plan how you will trade; what your trading edge is, how you will manage your risk and your exits as well as yourself! You must do this BEFORE you enter the market if you want to give yourself the best possible chance of trading success.

Patience is key in fishing and trading…

If you’ve ever gone fishing, you know it requires a lot of patience. However, unlike trading, you are basically forced to be patient in fishing. IN trading, you can just set up a trade up and enter it for no reason other than you want to risk some money, this will of course destroy your trading account but you can do it if you want to.

A successful fisherman will remain in his pre-planned high-probability fishing spot for as long as he deems necessary. He will not give up after 20 minutes with on bites, he will persist and wait patiently, perhaps re-casting, but not moving areas frequently. Similarly, as a trader you may have to wait days or even weeks for a high-probability trade setup to come along, before you should put your bait or money into the ‘water’ to try and catch a big move in the market.

Patience is truly what separates successful traders from the masses of ‘sheep’ who lose their money.

You need the mindset of a winner

As discussed in an article on BassMaster, another popular fishing journal:

Another thing that winners have — and this might be the most important trait they carry — is the ability to put their mistakes and shortcomings out of the picture. They don’t blame anyone or anything for their mistakes or problems. They never make excuses, and they don’t forget. They just move forward.

It’s like they can flip a toggle switch in their mind that allows them to turn those bad days into a non-issue. The past is just that, nothing more. It has no effect on the future. The next cast is a new opportunity and so is the next day. They don’t say they’ll make a clean break. They make a clean break.

Now, the above quote is obviously discussing the mindset needed to win at professional bass fishing. But, this is basically the same mindset you need to win at professional trading. You have to move forward and not dwell on bad days, or losing trades. You are going to have losing trades, but if you let them stew in your mind and take over your thinking, you will end up losing even more money as a result.

Just as a fisherman has to accept bad days with little or no good catches are part of his gig, so you have to accept that there will be many slow days in trading where there either are no good trades to take or you get a loss instead of a winner. How you handle these situations and if you can move forward without being bogged down by them, will significantly influence your long-term trading results.


If you’re out fishing and you immediately dump all your bait into the water once you get out on your boat, how are you going to catch the big prize fish? Well, you aren’t, of course! When you’re trading, if you immediately go and risk way too much, and lose a large portion of your risk capital, how are you going to stick around long enough to catch some big trades? You won’t! A fisherman needs to manage his bait properly just like a professional trader manages his bankroll properly. You must not over-trade or over-leverage just like you must not waste your bait if you’re a pro fishermen.

A good fisherman is nothing if not prepared. He must learn to cast his line in the right places, first and foremost. Eventually, being well-prepared and well-educated on all the various variables of fishing, will result in developing successful fishing skills that put a fisherman into the upper-echelon of fishing professionals. Ultimately, what this does is develop a gut feel for fishing; a sort of ‘sixth sense’ that allows these fishermen to instantly recognize where and when to fish. Similarly, after learning how to trade and putting that knowledge to practice, you will develop deep trading skill that ultimately results in a refined gut trading feel that will put you in the top 10% of traders who are successful.



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Nial Fuller

About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader, Investor & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. His blog is read by over 200,000+ followers and he has taught 25,000+ students since 2008. In 2016, Nial won the Million Dollar Trader Competition. Checkout Nial's Professional Trading Course here.
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    Easy said than done talking about psychology in trading which is the biggest factor in succeeding or failing in the markets thank you for the great article.

  2. Anayo Okoro

    Can’t thank you enough for the eye opener. More power to ur elbow. Great teacher.

  3. John Munge

    Easy said than done but that was a great article thanks alot.

  4. Danile Rassie Mfunwana

    True Mr fuller.

  5. Anastasis

    Wow!!! What a good lesson Mr fuller,not yet started trading but still gathering your information, you have opened my mind in the markets.

    Thanks a lot,may God bless.

  6. nthabiseng

    Great article Mr Fuller

  7. Mario Smith

    Great lesson thank you Mail for this direction of the pro fisherman thanks alot patients is the key .

  8. David A


  9. Pavel

    Niall ask you just do not stop. All that you write and do for us beginner traders is very important. Thank you for all your efforts.

  10. Delia Ladao

    Confluence of several factors… Trend, level, signal before throwing in your bet.. A good comparison to what fishermen do… Likewise, patience is indeed a virtue that has to be practiced with consistency .. Easier said but very hard to do, indeed.. Thank you Nial..

  11. Micah

    Your articles have always steered me back to the right track – enlightening, reminding, encouraging… I’m grateful Nial.

  12. Mike Coe

    Another superb analogy. I love your “hypnotic” approach too, Nial; the way you saturate our novice minds with your precision and positivity. I can never thank you enough. Very best regards, Mike.

  13. Peter

    I finally got this concept after blowing my account four times. Thank God it wasn’t a lot of money. Thanks for your articles Nial and also thanks for introducing me to price action trading.


    Patience,Discipline and “Nial Teachings” are the essentials to improve your profit bank.
    Thanks Fuller.

  15. Kate M

    Great article. Just when we need reminding to be patient!!! Thanks a million:)

  16. Thuto

    I have been struggling with this, lossing every trade i make but how u explain the concept of the fisherman lit my entire trading world, patience is key….well said Nial

  17. Gary Spencer

    Great article Nial !!


    It is advantageous to to trade lesser and win more. Patience, discipline and ‘Nial Fuller'(Teachings) are the best baits.

  19. Bongani Muthisi

    A few minutes ago I said to my wife, “Patience is what separate winners from losers in Forex…” The other tools are easy to gather and have them in your disposal… Thanks sir. South Africa


    Big fan of your trading styles, after croc trading this article of fisherman trading is amazing. I am learning day Y day by the way you teach trading and gaining much confidence…. Thanks a lot Nial.

  21. siman

    the key word PATIENCE, i get it now inpatience has been one of the reason why i loss on so many trade, because some time the signal are not clear one had to learn how to wait patienly
    thanks you are doing greate job …………………… Nigeria


    in the month of June, I trade only 15 set up, 11 of which enter my net. 4 small losses. I think I’m already trading like pro Fisher man.

    Nial Fuller once said that, he make 10 trade per month, I follow this advice and my account started boom.

  23. Roy Peters

    An outstanding article. A brilliant concept too. Better to open the charts and have a look before blindly pulling the trigger (fishing line)

    Thank you.

  24. Lufuno

    Patience Plus Level, signal and trend works as u always teach us! God bless u… South Africa