A week ago I blogged that nobody catches fish all the time, Fishing not Catching. Good anglers know there is much to learn, even on those trips when no fish are caught. Maybe especially on those trips?
For many of us it is a life-long learning process. I smile at this internet thingy. Folks ask a question or three on the interwebs and think they know everything they need to about catching fish. Sure, you can learn a lot from the internet, but there is much, much more than than.
Even before the internet was invented, volumes were recorded about catching just about every sport fish that swims. I believe it was Buck Perry, the father of modern structure fishing, who said that the most valuable tool any angler could have was the one between their ears. It is real simple, the more you know, the more successful you will be. The more fish you will catch, and bigger fish too. Nothing beats knowledge. Much of that will be acquired by time on the water.
Does not hurt to study too! Read, watch, listen to everything you can. Sure, ask questions, but lots of answers are already out there.
Recently, I got a copy of Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler. It was originally published in 1653! I have been reading it, am just about done. The book includes a series of chapters telling what ole Izaak knew about a number of species of fish and how to catch them! A buddy of mine once said that “Fishing is mostly about understanding fish.” Imagine that, anglers have been trying to figure that out forever!
As a matter of fact, The Compleat Angler includes chapters on pike, carp, and perch (yes, the perch would be European perch, larger than our species, but otherwise very similar). The book may be 370 years old, but you could still learn something from Walton! His rods were not as modern and his line was not even monofilament, but many of his techniques and tactics would be very familiar. I will go so far as to say that some of you are still fishing like Izaak Walton. Maybe it is time to advance a little?
Have heard that this process is like compound interest: Learn everything you can, eat, sleep, think fishing. Then, apply it on the water, learn even more. With the learning, you will finally know the questions you really need to ask, and answer. Which will lead to more questions, and. . . . You get the idea. In the process, you will become a better angler.
One more quote from another fishing friend of mine: It is learning a process, a way of thinking, it is not just about giving away the answers. (You are a wise man, SAM!)
Besides, we all know this is the real reason you cannot catch fish:
Have a great weekend, get out there and do some learning!