|If you’re a sports fan, you understand the concept of “matchups.”
You want to consolidate you strengths. You want YOUR strengths against your opponents’ weaknesses. Conversely, you want to hide or shelter your own weaknesses. Analysis of these matchups are essential to success.
Maybe your team has a height advantage but the other team is stronger. They are better in the shortstop or the linebacker positions or have an ace goalie. You have base-running; a faster point-guard or a quarterback who throws crisp tight short passes. Match ups. Accentuating your strengths over the other side’s deficiencies.
It’s like that in fishing, too.
Like most things, I always guard against over-thinking some thing and becoming too fanatic, but some basic common sense things will help put some advantages your way and give you some edge.
You have several “opponents.”
First, of course, is the fish. Until that fish is on the hook, it has all the advantages. Speed, power, instinct…all those things that nature embedded in that little pea- brain. More often than not, that little pea-brain is more than enough to usually outsmart those of us that are supposedly higher up the food chain and endowed with more gray matter between the ears!
Even, once that fish is hooked, often the advantage still doesn’t necessarily tilt in the direction of the angler, although once the fish is hooked at least it’s “game on!”
Secondly, there’s your own physiology. I refer to your personal stat sheet. Your own endurance, power, stamina, intelligence, etc. These are the things that nature stuck you with. Everyone is different. Everyone has different levels and just because you have one or more attributes, doesn’t mean you have the others or have them in abundance.
The link between the fish and yourself is technology. Your equipment. Your gear. It’s where the matchups take place in fishing. The decisions you make regarding your “technology” is what can bring you success. It can equalize the deficiencies or, it could cost you the game!
Starting with basics. Taking care of yourself, especially in the harsh Baja sun and conditions would seem obvious, but I often have to remind clients to “bring water and drink water.” Beer does not count as hydration. (Sorry, amigos!). Bring a hat. Put on the sunscreen. Keep your shirt on unless you plan to turn a painful shade of lobster red.
I know it’s Mexico, party animals, but if you play long and hard at night, fishing the next day will also kick you in the backside.
If you’re not running right, if you’re not ready to be in the game and stay in the game, at the very least, you’re not on top of your game for fishing. It’s not fun! At worst, you can end up with heatstroke, bad sunburn or worse.
The Baja sun and a day of fishing, while certainly relaxing, and better than sitting in traffic or at work, still takes a lot out of you. The hot dry air alone will zap you of energy and literally sucks moisture out of you.
Then, let’s take a specific look at your gear. Specifically, the rod, reel, and terminal tackle.
Is it right for what you’re fishing for? Is it right for how you fish? These are also part of “essential matchups.”
Like golf, one rod will not work in all situations. You don’t need an armload, but a select few rods and reels will usually cover most bases.
I see spinning reels on conventional rods and conventional reels on spinning rods. I see live bait rods used for trolling and heavy trolling rods and reels being used to fish with tiny live baits. I see jig sticks being used to troll and people trying to cast using short meat sticks meant for rock fishing..
I see kids and women and inexperienced anglers with gear that is far too heavy physically for them to handle, let alone have fun with. It’s too big when a fish bites and even just standing there holding it all day, the fatigue factor sets in. And it can stop being fun.
As much as its more economical to just buy gear “off the rack,” at least go to a place that knows about fishing gear and get some real recommendations from a knowledgeable salesperson. Don’t fit yourself to your gear. Fit your gear to yourself!
On the terminal end…that’s the stuff that’s directly connected to the fish like line, hooks, lures, etc., this is the critical end.
The things on the end of the line are what will essentially determine the success or failure of your fishing trip.
When I worked in a tackle store many years ago, I sold a guy about two grand worth of gear for his first real long range fishing trip. He was very excited. I asked him what hooks he’s like to add to the package.
“Oh, just give me the pack of 100 cheap ones. Those are as good as any,’ he said dismissively, almost as an afterthought.
I couldn’t believe it. I said, “You just spent two grand on gear. You’ve paid four grand for your trip and now you want to use a hook that’s worth five cents? That’s the part that’s connected to your fish of a lifetime!”
He got the idea!
If you’re fishing off the pier, that’s one thing. If you’re fishing for world class fish, that’s a different issue. You don’t have to buy the most expensive. Don’t bust the mortgage. But, you do get what you pay for and the cheapest can often cost you in the long run.
Matchups are key!