29 01 2012

One night I was out pulling wire on the Trenton Channel with a fellow club member.  It was a beautiful evening and the fish were cooperating.  We had 7 in the box and we were trying to catch those last 3 before it got dark.  Weeds were a bit of a problem so I was pulling my lines again to clear them off.  For some reason I decided to swap out a lure.  I just grabbed a spoon (Riley Special) out of the box and put it on.  It wasn’t too much longer when I felt that familiar hit and head shake.  Only difference this time from so many before is that the fish was gone before I ever started to pull up the line.  This happened a few more times before we finally called it quits for the night.  Without even looking I put the spoons away without even checking them.  A few nights later I was back out in my boat in the same area.  I grabbed that same spoon from the night before and hooked it up.  About 10 minutes later I had another fish on and then he was gone.  Now this was starting to get frustrating so I finally decided to check the hook on the spoon.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered the point was busted off.  If I had taken just a few seconds to check the hook before I used it I could have saved myself a bit of aggravation.  Why didn’t I check it?  Just plain lazy.

The Constant Reminder Spoon

Some people may call this paying attention to the finer points but to me it’s just being too lazy to care.  We all do it, sticking to the status quo without ever bothering to check things over.  There is no reason for this.  The incident I mentioned earlier should have never happened.  I used to keep a hook sharpener in my boat and I used it to touch up the hooks on a regular basis.  For some reason I just quit, probably because I lost the sharpener and I got too cheap to replace it.  I really need to get a new one.

Another bad habit I got into was not checking my leaders for nicks and knots.  The way I fish my hands run over the leaders all the time.  I will feel the nicks and abrasions and just ignore them.  I know the reason why I get lazy about replacing them is because I have so much faith in 30# test line.  I think the stuff is indestructible and I should know better.   The funny thing is that if the line breaks I don’t get upset about losing a fish, I get upset about losing a lure.  Again, if I would just change the leader when it gets damaged it wouldn’t happen.  I keep extra spools with leaders handy now.  It doesn’t take long to swap out a damaged leader.

Another thing I was guilty of that really drove me crazy was “just trolling over to the next spot”.  This bad habit drives me up a wall.  If I’m on someone else’s boat I don’t say a thing but inside I am coming unglued.  I used to be guilty of doing this all the time but I soon realized I was wasting a lot of time.  Over the years I have learned where the dead spots are on my river and I just pull lines and speed up to the next hole.  Trout and Steelhead fishermen do this so why shouldn’t we?  The successful fisherman doesn’t waste his time fishing unproductive water.   I am out there to catch fish not wash lures.  If you hear from a buddy on the radio or know they are catching fish someplace else what is really quicker?  Taking the 5 minutes to pull lines and haul ass or spend an hour trolling over there?  A lot could happen in that hour, the worst of which could be the fish have stopped feeding.  How many times have we heard that one?  “We got a bunch of them about an hour ago but nothing since”.

What it all boils down to is this, how many fish do you want to catch and how quickly?  I only have so much free time so I want to make the most of it.  Other people I know are retired and have all the time in the world.  If you fall into that later category would it still hurt to take a minute or two and check to make sure everything is in working order?  No one likes to lose a fish or come home empty handed.   Just a minute out of your day can make a world of difference.

One more thing, I still have that spoon.  I keep it as a reminder to check the hooks on all my spoons before I tie one on.  I also keep it so that if I get some overly cocky fisherman out with me I slip that lure onto his leader to help humble him a bit.

Have fun out there, it won’t be much longer.



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