That’s Why It’s Called Fishing
Why is it that sometimes the darn fish just won’t bite? How come the walleye were here last week and not today? What am I doing wrong?
Have you ever asked yourself those questions? I think we all have at one time because if it weren’t for second guessing one’s fishing strategies, we would be spending a lot of time in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. Questioning is part of the process. Trying different locations and presentations is another. Paying attention to your results is the final part. Well, remembering those results for next year comes after, I guess.
This approach is much like a scientific method of hypothesis (“I think there might be fish here.”), testing the hypothesis (“Let’s fish here.”), and analyzing the results (“Darn, no fish here”). There is no real failure, only unproven hypothesis. The learning comes from not catching fish as much as hooking them.
This past week was a perfect example of learning from not catching. After a great start to the week, the cold north wind hit us hard (again) and temps dropped quickly. We were waking to 5 degree Celcius mornings (40 F) and daytime highs that didn’t seem much warmer given the wind and rain on a few of the days. Suddenly, the walleye spots that had produced so well before seemed to shut down. If fish were there, they went on a hunger strike.
So, time for trial and error: try a different spot, go deeper, go lighter, change bait. For those who persevered and did their homework, they found some fish willing to bite. For walleye, that was dropping a small hook, tiny split-shot and a worm and set on bottom below a well-anchored boat atop a mid lake reef; for lake trout it meant vertical jigging with tube jigs; bass were active on top water plugs and poppers (who would have guessed?) and pike, well, they seemed to be wildly active regardless of the weather. Scott, a new guest to the lodge guided his boat into five monster pike in the 40-inch range.
The challenge and the sport lies in figuring out how to finally hook into one fish on a no-fish outing, and that is as rewarding as catching one after another in the sure-bet spot under perfect conditions. Like the old saying goes, “That’s why it’s called fishing, not catching.”