Don’t take these words with too much credibility, as the guy hitting the keys puts more time these days figuring out the perfect way to freeze and fish frozen squid versus how to hook, cast, soak, backpedal, feather and ultimately fly line a sardine.
Squid was on the hook this one night recently when Chas Shoemaker and I started talking about some fishing topic that had something to do with conditions on his charter.
I don’t remember the exact advice, but I said something like, “If every so often you ask yourself which way the current is (or isn’t) running, how you want your bait to act and if the gear you started fishing with is still optimal based on the conditions, you’d be way ahead of the pack.
Here’s a little bullet point analysis of that five-line sentence:
*Why. Asking why will always be the greatest way to analyze the conditions and thought process behind most things, even fishing
*Figure out what downhill vs. uphill means so far as current. Then work on down and in, down and up, up and in, up and out, etc. All willinfluence where you cast once figured out
*Tides. Figure out tides and how they relate to species, areas and bite windows, and so much falls into place
*Hook placement should, at its core, be dictated by how you want the fin bait to react, e.g. a butt hooked sardine goes down, while a nose hooked sardine (usually) stay by the surface
*If the day has tough fishing, and you really have to “work at it” to get a bite, and you have been struggling without trying different hooks and hook placements and pound tests, then it’s time to start
*What’s everyone else doing?
*What’s the guy getting bit doing?
*What can I do to bridge the gap?
*Why am I using the terminal tackle I have on the end of the line
*Am I letting rules influence my fishing decisions versus the conditions?
There are a 1,000,000 questions. Fishing is all about figuring out what the questions are. Not just wanting all the answers.
This is what I am going to teach my son, if he chooses to take his fishing as serious as dad. Don’t ask “Where?” figure out “Why?”
Word of etiquette: when someone makes a great catch, don’t Pavlonian ask, “Where?” first thing. If you ask about current and tide—or time of day so you can go home and put it together—then see where the conversation goes, you’ll learn a lot more than simply where to go.
It’s the classic—probably going to butcher this one— “give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”
Hot spots and zones peter out. Every. Single. Time. Sets of conditions are eternal. There are only so many pieces to the puzzle. Eventually they all start to fall into place.