Several weeks ago I was trying to reorganize all my lures and as I sorted them out I realized I had all kinds of effective baits I had completely forgotten about. Somehow I had slowly strayed away from some real “killer” lures I should have been using! They had been “top secret” options not too long ago, right?
What I could see from my older boxes was that these performers had suddenly stopped working when conditions had changed, so I had gone looking for the new solution. That’s when the path veered off into a new direction, and suddenly I was charging full speed down a new “rabbit hole” that also would gradually fizzle out. This slow migration to a new “best solution” lure that I came to depend on now had slowly taken me away from foundational choices that had worked.
Yes, I slowly lost confidence in the seemingly old school lure I had leaned on totally just a few months ago. Funny how we forget so quickly just what lures brought us to the dance and we look right over them because they seem so familiar – so we move to another new bait. The crazy thing is that I could see there was no reason I shouldn’t be using my “old faithful,” but for some reason I now felt like I had left it behind. Why hadn’t I been using these tried and true lures, and what had been happening that took me down this path?
The thing that hit me was that I had begun to think of the old lure as “not working any more” rather than “not working right now” because of conditions. The new lures seemed to be the “deal” now, and it’s amazing how fast your brain can wrap around that thought. In fact, when the inevitable occurred, and the lure stopped working, rather than go back the tendency was for me to look for still another new solution. I could see that I had done this many times, and it had cost me. I had gotten to where I was only using a few trusted lures and adamantly sticking to them and ignoring the obvious choice that had worked very well for a long time. It’s a trap.
The other observation was that this process seemed to take me all the way across the spectrum and eventually right back to where I had started! When would I ever learn that incremental changes over a period of time always bring you back to the basics. Sort of like driving down the road and veering from side to side, where you overcorrect till you go off the road again. Yep!
I hate being unproductive! One of the lessons I’ve learned from guiding is that every moment you spend outside the “zone” is wasted effort. Going around and around on lures that I should have been fishing makes me feel like I have a flat forehead from hitting it so often. A buddy told me a profound truth: “Rog, You know what, they’re just fish!” Yeah they are!
Getting fancy has its place – and I certainly do it at times, too, but the biggest problem with my success seems to be the “nut behind the wheel” who gets off track pretty easily looking for the newest big thing. If you find a good tool, remember what made it effective and keep it ready. It will work again. They always do, if you apply them correctly. There’s a reason they worked in the first place.
The other extreme, of course, is when folks get way too attached to their pet technique/lure. The funny thing about this is that when conditions get right for them, the lure works, reinforcing their bias to the extreme. Soon the favorable conditions change but they doggedly stick to their “proven method,” convinced any deficiencies are temporary. I see this a lot. My tendency is to be on the other end of this stuck-on-something spectrum.
Taking my walk down memory lane as I went through my tackle box sure helped me pinpoint some of my “erroneous zones.” I’m convinced that illuminating this problem will help me a lot. (However, I confess that new striper lure sure looks good …) Help! Never give up!
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,