One of the remarkable things that I see is the impact of innovative anglers taking ideas perfected for a single species and transferring them to a different type of fish. These new ideas are transforming the way many now approach the sport.
It used to be that most fishermen fell into several camps, and guys would call themselves “trout” or “bass guys.” The way each approached their sport was straightforward, like using a Mepps for trout or a rubber worm for bass! But the trend I’m seeing is more and more anglers using techniques developed for one species and adapting those same basics to catch a completely different species!
Take for example the recent umbrella rig craze. The U-rig has been around for a century or so on the East Coast for stripers, but when an inventive angler downsized it to a castable size, the bass world was turned upside down! The crossover idea has been very effective and now everyone has one in his tackle box for bass and striper fishing! Why wasn’t such a simple adaptation thought of long ago?
The biggest deterrent to progress always seems to be centered around the concept of “that’s the way we’ve always done it!” In our sport, there is a lot of “tradition” that gets you to buy into the idea that this “is the way” we do it. Anything else is crushed or ridiculed in most cases.
The umbrella rig looked pretty silly to me initially, until I saw the incredible catches it was providing. Even when I caught a striper in excess of 20 pounds on it, after tentatively deciding to give it a try, other anglers around me pooh-poohed it! The second big one I got had them gasping! We are all hard to persuade, but was the case finally made?
I’ve noticed that anglers from all kinds of fishing backgrounds are bringing their experience over to new fisheries. It’s having a big effect. For example, let’s take a salmon guy and put him on stripers. These guys have been using downriggers for eons and do so effectively. Now, they transfer that expertise and suddenly you have a complete shift in how anglers fish for stripers. A lot of guys still just use minnows and bait, but the overall transition has been radical!
I’ve had brown trout anglers from back East bring in their techniques and use them on stripers and big trout. Their approach is much different than most locals, but the proof of those methods’ worth has been in the results. Nontraditional techniques such as jigging for kokanee and trout, as well as special big brown trolling tactics, have put them ahead of the curve.
Why do some believe techniques and lures that work in other places will not work here? I’ll tell you what I’ve found: it’s pure unwillingness to change. I’ve even seen some guys fight to suppress any new techniques they think are “not normal.” Wow!
You’ve got salmon anglers telling me all about using the solunar tables to be more effective, as well as the role of scent. It helped me. The bass guys went off on the massive swimbait thing and now the S-wave type of bait has opened up a whole new world for almost all big fish. Wow, a fishy looking, toy bait – how quaint! It kills! Specialized bobber fishing and night fishing are both killer applications that have come from other regions but remain rarely discussed. But I’m suggesting even more of these techniques and ideas are transferrable. The surface has barely been scratched!
This cross-pollination has led many anglers to move beyond what would be considered traditional and provided a lot of new frontiers we’re all just beginning to explore. Look outside the traditional roads most anglers are following and consider using some new crossover ideas (no matter what “they” may say)!
There’s a world of incredible information out there that’s effective and powerful, and it may be coming from anglers with whom you don’t think you have anything in common. But realize that at the end of the day, all fish are still just fish! Never give up!