There’s a saying in the ‘sales’ world – change is good. With change comes opportunity and opportunity brings a level of comprehension. If an angler can comprehend changes and adapt to the variety of fishing conditions, he or she can effectively manage their time spent on the water. Change is often surpassed as a ‘negative’ in our daily lives, but in fishing, it can bring more success than any other variable.
This article is meant to challenge the average angler. Instead of fishing your honey hole day after day, I encourage time spent away from this known variable. People who know me on a personal level will tell you that I am constantly putting myself into situations where I am not confident – using unfamiliar lures, fishing unfamiliar water and listening to anyone who has a story about fishing to share. Even if I have deadlines to meet.
Over the past year, I have dedicated many hours to simply fishing outside of my comfort zone. Tidal systems are not my strength; so I began fishing reservoirs more. Crankbaits were not always my favorite way of fishing, but I am much more inclined to fish them today for many reasons. Being uncomfortable has allowed me to become more confident in the locations and presentations listed above. Groundbreaking? Not at all. Effective? Absolutely.
For anglers who are willing to take such a challenge, there are a few phases (maybe more) that I found myself experiencing while fishing with a “Braveheart” attitude. First is frustration for obvious reasons. Catching fish can be difficult when you are not prepared – intellectually speaking. Second, is the “Ah-Ha” moment where basic fundamentals were learned. Third is comprehension of where and when to fish certain lures with confidence. Fourth is back to the beginning of the circle – frustration. I’ll explain.
If you spend the majority of your time becoming familiar with new lures and techniques, chances are, familiar baits and situations (those you claim to have confidence in) will begin to degrade due to your mental sway of fishing new water and new techniques. The more familiar you are with certain lures and bodies of water, the more unfamiliar you become with the opposite. It is human nature to focus on what is in front of you, and to pass on information that is not on the forefront.
So how do you fish new water, new techniques and still feel like you are gaining knowledge and understanding without losing your already acquired skills?
The answer is time.
Time is THE MOST important asset in business, just like it is in fishing. Like sales, finding a balance of ‘familiar’ and ‘unfamiliar’ is important when building your knowledge and experience. By fishing a familiar lake one weekend and swapping to an unfamiliar lake the next weekend, I have nailed some serious patterns that I struggled with last season.
In order to utilize my time on the water, I have a game plan that I stick to very closely. Unless the fish are telling me something that is very obvious, my blueprint for the day has a mix of known and unknown situations. I do it on purpose, and I’ll tell you something, these decisions have opened my eyes to a different side of fishing – embracing change and using it to my advantage for I know that in time, I will be a much more rounded angler who can adjust on the fly. I fish each trip not only for that day, but for next year. Five years down the road. Ten years down the road.
Change is good. Fish for the long haul. Challenge yourself as a person and as an angler. Commitment to time is something that will never fail you. Our world revolves around it, and every decision is based around it. Fishing is no different.