There are really two sides of fishing – the relaxing side, and the serious, just-got-to-have-it, I'm-gonna-slam-'em side
If you were to ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you that I forgot what the relaxing side of it was about 10 years ago.
I am not saying that I don't enjoy going out with my family or teaching my little boy or girl how to fish. It's actually becoming one of the things I look forward to each time we go out.
That being said, I never truly relax. Each time out, I am always trying new ideas or tricks. So as you probably guessed, I am going to concentrate on the serious side of things 99 percent of the time.
If I am fishing alone, fishing with my family or pre-fishing a tournament, my main goal is to find fish. I honestly get more satisfaction in finding fish than the actual act of reeling one in.
We all love to fight a hard-hitting channel cat or flathead, but if you would really think about it, anyone can catch fish if the fish are there and willing to bite.
I had a chance recently to go to a walleye seminar (yes I said walleye), and in between the tips and techniques he was talking about, he said something that really got my attention. As he was talking about getting ready for his tournaments, he said, "Don't fish your memories."
For the past few years, I kind of had the same idea about fishing new lakes or my favorite rivers, but never really put it in words that simple or that true. We have all been guilty of doing the same thing. We go out and catch great fish at one particular spot, and expect them to be there every time, regardless of seasonal or weather patterns.
Sure, it's worth checking out your favorite spot, but don't let yourself get comfortable and plan your next trip around it. One reason behind this theory is that sooner or later, the wrong person will see you at your favorite spot one too many times, and with today's internet access and forums, half of the state or country will all have a new favorite spot.
The second reason not to fish your memories is there is a good chance the next time you go back, the fish may have moved because of weather, food and cover availability, or because of seasonal patterns. I think the most important reason not to fish your memories is that you will not become a better angler.
This cannot be more true anywhere than in catfishing. I say that because catfishing as a sport is relatively young compared to all other gamefishing, and has a reputation of having a lot of tall tales and bad habits associated with it.
Of course, not all habits are bad, and the old pictures hanging on the bait shop walls must have some proof and merit to them, so basically keep in the back of your mind all of the stories and tips you have heard, and slowly try to apply them to your own techniques and situations.
Again, I know that I always lean toward the catfishing side of things, but that is what I know. But I see others, I hear others as well, talking about how they fish for their fish of choice. It seems like if the fish aren't in shallow and feeding on minnows, then they just go home. Not trying to find the fish in weed beds or staging in nearby deep water ... you get the point.
Hey, there are them days that anchoring in front of a giant brush pile, kicking the feet up and sipping on a couple of cold ones is the only way to go. But that's a whole different article my friends.
Until next time, stay thirsty my friends ... I mean, Go Catfish!