Electronics or Knowledge?
These days electronics are a huge part of what we do as anglers. We load our lake maps and spend countless hours reviewing the data that we have uploaded before we even take to the water. Once we hit the water we are then focusing on structure, bait and depth. Electronics have really been the only major advancements in our sport in recent years. They are so well defined from the days of old providing us cleaner clearer images each and every year. Even guys that are purchasing their first boat or kayak are spending the extra money and going for high dollar electronics. Times have changed but there is still something to be said for a guy that can read the water with his eyes and put a pattern together. A couple of weekends ago I forgot my K2 Energy battery on the way out the door. I didn’t realize it until I had actually started setting up my kayak for that morning. Not sweating the situation I continued to load up my tackle and get out on the water. As I paddled around the bridge into the main lake I began to digest the weather situation.
It was sunrise on a clear morning and the temperature was going to be rising into the high 80’s throughout the day. There was a little wind at my back, so I took off heading for what I like to call “the wall”. The key bite had been throwing a crazy legs chigger craw at the top of the trunk and letting it fall into the tree tops on slack line, so I naturally started there. A few casts later the wind started to pick up and was putting a little too much bow in the line. After a few missed hook sets I made the call to move around the bend.
Reaching the backside of the wall the wind had created an eddy of sorts. Cruising through I notice that fishy smell, you know the one where you instantly think “it smells right”. I got out a few yards beyond the point, spun the boat into position, grabbed the 412 Bait Co Phase spinnerbait and chucked it out into the current. Mentally I knew there should be bass stacked there waiting on a meal to struggle by. As the bait reached that slack water the rod tip loaded up and the fight was on. Cast by cast I chipped away putting 5 in the boat.
The situation was one that allowed me to be unplugged and turn my focus to what the water was actually doing. There are just so many basics that need to be covered before anglers become completely engulfed into the electronic world of fishing. I’ve spent a lot time this past summer explaining these types of things to my daughter and a couple of friends that are new to the sport. Hopefully it has led to a better understanding of the fish as well as water for them. It’s definitely helped me bring the attention back to some of the strategies I used when I was learning.
There are so many fish to be caught without the use of electronics. Sure a depth finder is going to show you some hidden treasures below the surface, but there’s just as many to be found by glassing the water with your eyes. The water is always telling us something whether it’s a lake or a stream. It’s as simple as seeing the angle of a tree on the shoreline, looking at the direction of the wind, scouting isolated grass with your eyes, and noticing those little shaded areas just out of the sun.
Take some time unplug and get back to the details. Put your mind and eyes to work and see what kind of pattern that you can develop from it. Heck grab a lake map and a pencil to lay out a day on the water. Basic skills are always going to be the back bone of anglers and the types of things that get us out of a jam when it counts. You might just catch a few you have been overlooking. Maybe as anglers we need to focus on teaching the basics again rather than worrying about that next big trend.