What separates an actual fisherman from a guy who merely goes fishing?…
The ability to apply critical thinking on the fly… to abandon the textbook… what’s “supposed” to work… to break rules… to ignore dogma… to challenge conventional thinking with innovation.
Most of you reading this are pretty serious about your fishing. We all read different fishing magazine publications, websites, hold at least one membership to a fishing organization, etc… So, naturally we’ve got fishing articles and tips coming out of our ears!
I think we’ve reached the point where information is so readily and excessively available that we’ve become mentally lazy. We’d rather read the latest how-to article or copycat somebody else’s approach than to actually use our own brain. Today’s fisherman depends too heavily on magazines, fishing TV shows, and fishing websites to learn “how to” fish. Consequently, we don’t rely nearly enough on our own instincts and past lessons of experience.
Seriously, whatever happened to using our own brains, opening our own eyes, solving our own problems, finding our own solutions, etc… I’m not saying you can’t learn a knot or technique from a buddy or a YouTube video. I’m just cautioning you to not let your fishing brain go to mush by not tuning into other modes of knowledge expansion.
The real fisherman doesn’t need to read fishing reports, call up 10 different buddies, bum waypoints off of other guys, and read fishing magazines to come up with his strategy. An actual “fisherman” lives in the moment and fishes according to the feedback and cues that those moments in nature provide him.
The best fisherman can find their own path. They figure out things on their own. They make their own tweaks and improvements as conditions and mood of fish dictate. By the time you read about these tricks and modifications, years have passed by since they were first implemented. Do you honestly think the top pros are waiting to read the latest bass fishing magazine to find out what technique or hot new rig to tie for their upcoming tournament? Not likely! If you’re reading it in a magazine, you’re already behind the times. The pros are pros because they use their own freaking head! They set the trends and blaze their own trails. They take their fishing into their own hands.
Whatever happened to actually fishing for the fish. Don’t just cast for them. Fish for them. I think we’ve lost touch with the fullest meaning of the word in exchange for mere mechanical repetition and memorized motor patterns.
Twitch, twitch, pause… twitch, twitch, pause. Repeat…. Repeat…
Don’t get hung up on the textbook approaches. Bass don’t always eat like the textbook says and many times they’re not where the textbook says they’re “supposed” to be. They are where they are… where you find them.
Don’t wait on other sources to tell you how to fish. Don’t worry if it’s what you’re “supposed” to be doing or not. If you can catch them shallow when they’re “supposed” to be deep, then go with it. Don’t wait on confirmation from magazines or Bill Dance (no offense, Bill). Find what works for you in the moment. If you fail to do this, you’ll just end up fishing like all the other guys on the lake.
Think strong. Think for yourself. Think independently. Think like a fisherman. Most of all, just think.