Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pay Attention

Just a quick one tonight, but more Anglenook coming soon (with pictures! with first trout! with circle hook experiments!):

About a month or so I went out to the nearest lake and took 8 or 9 fish, including some nice crappie. For once, I convinced myself to do something I'd read about but never tried, which is to switch tactics when you're catching fish (as opposed to when you're not). The idea is that you might be on to something good, but that could be causing you to miss out on the best (yes, there are some theological implications here -- I'll save that for another forum).

So I was catching them on topwater. I knew that at that time of year, under those conditions, I could do that. I had done it last year, and I was doing it right then. So I started switching, trying different lures and different retrieves. I had a variety of results, but I also gathered some information for future use.

The following weekend I had just a couple hours, but I zipped out to a pond about 25 minutes away. Here's where I should have paid attention. When the Fish Commission notes that there's a "Kids Fishing Day" coming up, remember what day it is, and don't go to any of those locations. [That's "Pay Attention" #1.]

Having wasted about 50 minutes in a car, I finally got to somewhere I could fish. I stepped out of the car, and half the sole on one of my shoes peeled off. I'm not especially hard on clothes, gear, etc., but this is the third pair of shoes I've ruined while fishing in less than 12 months. Since I was stuck with clopping around the lake, of course it was crowded.

And of course, the fishing was slow. I tried to duplicate the previous week's action but only caught a few. It doesn't meant the day was a waste. I always talk to other anglers I see, partly because I'm friendly (usually) and partly because I'm curious. While there's a stereotype of the tight-lipped fisher hiding his holes and tactics, that's rarely the reality. Most people are more than willing to share their tricks, maybe because they're kind or maybe because they like to show off, or maybe it's just neighborly.

[Note: I'm a little bit tight-lipped.]

I talked briefly with a guy on my way in, and we crossed paths later, so he squatted down next to me and went over some of his gear. He's been catching some big bass, and he let me in on some access points to the local river that he's had good action at. Totally unnecessary to share, but very much appreciated. That info + Google Maps = more fish. [There's "Pay Attention" #2 for you.]

Of course, maybe it's just me. I've been told that there's something about my face that encourages people to open up to me, so maybe I should be a teacher or a preacher or a counselor. I suspect it's more that when I'm on the water, I sometimes carry a vague expression of incompetence. Throw in a funny-looking hat and a half-broken pair of shoes and I'm practically a charity case. When the guy using the surf rod for 5-lb bass looks at my little ultralight*, how can there not be a lesson to follow.

*It's a new one; a review of L.L. Bean's hot new combo coming soon, too.

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