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Mike Stevens – KNEE DEEP

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Friday, August 23, 2019
Falling up


The Weekly Fishing Form
If you are into horse racing, you are well aware of the contents of the Daily Racing Form, the hard data and editorial content it provides and how that info is put into use by those betting on the ponies.

For the rest of you, “the form” is a print publication founded in 1894 that for over a century has stood as the ultimate tool for formulating a betting plan of attack.


distantcousins
DISTANT COUSINS — Western Outdoor News and the Daily Racing Form. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS


The meat of the publication is a list of all the active tracks that day, which horses are running in each race, and Russian-launch-code-looking stats on how each horse did in its most-recent races, which could go back months if not over a year. Along with how each horse fared in those races, it says the length of each race, the conditions of the track, which details are “key indicators” for what’s going on now and a ton of other dirt that a non-racing enthusiast would go batty trying to decode.


The deal was, we would have to buy him the form the day before. He would stay up late analyzing it, and he would show up the next morning with it now covered in more scribbles, circles, arrows, Xs and Os than Bill Belichick’s locker-room whiteboard after a substandard first half.


Short version: the Daily Racing Form is the boiled-down results of the exhaustive curating of relevant information by its staffers, info the reader can use in conjunction with gut feelings, wild hairs or just his or her own thoughts based on personal experience, to formulate a game plan for making some money the next day and have fun doing it.


If only such a publication existed for fishing.


The nature of fish being ALIVE and WILD, teaches an early lesson that sticks with an angler until he (or she) makes his final cast: there is no guarantee they are going to be in the same place today as they were yesterday. Sure, if the conditions are the same, there is a good chance they will be, and what worked is a worthy starting point when you’re back at it. If it doesn’t work, it’s on the angler to decide what’s next, and guess what that’s based on.


How about, info the reader can use in conjunction with gut feelings, wild hairs or just his or her own thoughts based on personal experience, to formulate a game plan for catching some fish the next day and have fun doing it.


When a stable of WON staffers compiles info from top sources all over the state and puts in into the paper each week, the least relevant info is filtered out, and what’s left is a boiled-down fishing and conditions report along with details from the source themselves on how they made adjustments based on the cards they were dealt. When that is passed down to the readership on a weekly, year-round basis, the reader gets a feel on what to expect — whether that’s what depth bass will be at in a lake, what temperature break the tuna might be found on, or how the Captain of their ¾-day boat is going to get after it — based on what the experts said worked best the last time a set of conditions presented themselves on a given body of water.


It’s a simple matter of, here’s a bunch of relevant intel, now come up with your own game plan and tell us how you do!


Ernest Hemingway didn’t go into a lot of detail on everything he wrote about because he gave his readers some credit for knowing a bit about the subject. He knew if you were reading his book, you know how bullfights work, how a trout darts to the surface for a hopper and how it feels to get socked in the face.


It’s that same brand of credit that is given to WON readers. You know what you’re doing out there, but, this nugget we got from the Captain on how he adjusts to certain situations will help you hit the water running when you’re out there.


Without coming off as insulting — actually, anyone this would insult isn’t reading this anyway. Kind of my whole point here — if you’re not just getting out there whenever you can fit it into a busy schedule, or you need someone’s coordinates or hot spot or only fish the lake on stock day, or you need any other related form of hand holding, how much of a real fisherman are you?


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