Sometimes it pays to look at fishing in different ways
Perspective is an amazing thing. We are so used to seeing the world only from our own, and when we take the time to focus on another perspective we often change our mindset almost immediately.
Often times we can avert arguments and disagreements by looking at another’s perspective. I use this strategy constantly when working with children. Why do you think they said that? How would have you reacted to that? It is an amazingly powerful tool.
This same thought process can be applied to our fishing. We see only from our own point-of-view. We can learn a lot though from looking from a fishes point-of-view. This is not easy to do, but I have been very fortunate to spend a lot of time this summer doing just this.
Last Christmas I gathered up some of the cash I had received as gifts and headed to the store. I knew what I wanted to purchase. It was an underwater video camera. They were surprisingly affordable and the footage that they take is extraordinary for the price.
Slowly, over the course of the last several months, I have been compiling footage in preparation for launching a new website I am working on. Throughout this process I have learned so much on how fish see and react to our lures. The first major realization is that we impart too much action on our baits.
Let me explain, most anglers that I know use rods that are somewhere between 6 feet 6 inches and 7 feet 6 inches. We hold that rod at one end. Over the length of that rod we gain a lot of leverage. A small twitch with our wrist can equal a rod tip that moves ten or twelve inches. In other words, the slightest movement by our hands can make our lure move a lot, sometimes too much. If we are not careful during our retrieve, we might start to impart even more action with our hands and the resulting movement on the lure is anything but natural.
Just last week I was standing chest deep in some ultra-clear water recording a plastic lizard scooting along the bottom. My son was standing on the shore actually fishing the lure so I could film. The first couple of times he brought the bait by me I couldn’t even find it with the camera because it would move in and out of frame so quickly.
I snapped upright to see what he was doing. To my surprise he was fishing that bait exactly like I would. He was barely moving his wrists at all. I gazed towards the rod tip and it was moving quite a lot. The end result, the plastic lizard was flying through the water at an unnatural pace.
I told him to flick his wrist just a fraction and we would try it again. This time the lure crawled across the bottom of the lake in a most enticingly way. It was startling what a difference that one change made in the presentation of the lure. The bells and whistles were going off in my head.
The rest of the morning my son and I applied what we had just learned to a variety of lures. The result was the same time-and-time again. As anglers, we most often fish too fast with our lures.
To compound this issue, most lure manufacturers have created baits that have drastic movement and action built in to them. It doesn’t take a whole lot of water resistance to get the tails, legs, flippers, and bodies of these high-tech lures moving. They are designed to get maximum action from the slightest movement.
What can we do to make sure that we are not overfishing our lures? First, it will take a lot of mental concentration. One famous angler from LaCrosse, Wisconsin uses the phrase made famous by Ali, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
The word “float” reminds him to fish the lure slow as possible. So slow it seemingly just floats in the water. The “sting” part refers to when he gets a bite and sets the hook. He says this phrase to himself to help control the speed of his lure. In case you’re wondering, that angler is Tom Monsoor.
The next thing that we can do is find some clear water, even a bathtub or swimming pool, and watch our lures closely. How much movement does it take to get them going? What happens if I twitch the bait? What about if I pull it? Which movement of my wrist makes the lure look most life-like?
The underwater footage I have taken this year has given me a whole new perspective on how I fish. It is interesting to see a lure from the vantage point of the fish. Try it sometime and I think your perspective will change as well.