The other day in the course of an angling conversation, I asked an acquaintance when he was going fishing again. He told me July 15. I suddenly felt sorry for the guy because he was locked in and still had a month to wait! It was startling, because it hit me that I almost never plan my trips that way – or wait that long except for guiding trips. Why?
Thinking back, I realized that I had grown up going on short excursions that were usually spur of the moment decisions. The whole process began while growing up on our ranch. Dad would lay out the daily chores, then if a fishing buddy called with some hot news, or just convinced my father that there was a good bite right now, he would finagle the work and off we would go! Since you never knew what each day might bring on the farm, you had to grab every opportunity. If my Dad could see daylight and that a trip was possible and the work could still get done, he grabbed the gusto while he could.
I have a few friends who grew up this way, too, and they are also guys who are constantly looking at the weather reports, water flows and levels, current fishing reports and moon phase, as well as just walking outside to see the cloud cover. Like a computer, they digest all this info. They’ve also usually developed a highly sensitive, instinctual feeling for when and where they should be fishing. In some cases, they’ll pull the trigger and head out within hours. They know how fragile great fishing windows can be and don’t waste time wondering what to do!
Funny, I’ll talk with a guy like this and we’ll compare conclusions and many times we’re both planning a quick trip in a day or two during a particular weather pattern – for the same reasons. There’s no way to set a date and hope for consistently good results given the variables in play. Really good anglers are constantly sniffing out all the factors they can and planning to pull the trigger when it all comes together. Yes, some guys are constrained by work – but they’ll usually do this same thing when they have windows where they can make quick decisions.
I know a couple of big bass anglers who are always sitting on the edge, ready to take advantage of every opportunity. They are on the big fish bite before many of their peers know it’s happening. I love watching them quickly pivot when they see good conditions line up; they don’t waste much motion putting the whole enchilada together – and their results prove it.
I love the feeling of making a quick decision in great looking conditions, loading the boat and heading out for a few hours of intentionally focused fishing. A trip doesn’t need to be a monumental task; it can be a surgical strike for a few hours at the apex of the bite conditions. I believe this helps maximize results, get in more trips and learn patterns more quickly. I think it helps most guys focus better, too.
Yeah, I take full day trips, and I will hit them hard, but they can sure wear you down. The amount of energy you can expend hoping that a certain day will produce good results can make you feel like you missed the boat when it’s not good. One shot, no kills can be frustrating, whereas short, spur of the moment excursions can leave you refreshed in spite of poor results.
I’m always looking for the next opportunity, maybe even today, when I might have a special fishing window open up. It’s a feeling and an attitude that’s been bred into me over decades. Gotta keep the boat ready to go! Maybe you feel and think that way, too. I guess I can’t wait a month for my next trip; I have too many fish to catch! I still feel sorry for my friend, he’s stuck, but he has hope! Never give up!