I always try to learn something every day that I’m on the water. Even if it’s the smallest thing, coming away with a new idea, or improved idea, makes us better anglers. The best time to learn these things is while actually fishing. We can read all the articles and watch all the television shows and even web videos, but where you learn to do the things you’ve watched or read is while on the water.
I’ve said it for years, there is no substitute for “Seat Time”. Actual time on the water, casting, retrieving, experimenting, will teach you more than any article or web video can hope too. Experience on the water is where you learn what works and when. Situations that baits work best, how to present baits effectively, how to deal with the wind, the list of on the water learning goes on and on.
Over the years, I have been very fortunate to get a lot of “Seat Time”. Living in the south, I get to bass fish year round. I’ve fished in all kind of conditions, from 100 plus degree temperatures and no wind, to 25 degree temperatures and 20 mph winds. Water conditions ranging from cold and muddy, to warm and clear with all facets in between.
As I drive home from any bass fishing outing, the first thing that goes through my mind is, “What do I want to remember about today?” It could have been a tough bite or a good bite, however, either way I surely had to make adjustments through the day to determine the most effective bite. These adjustments to the conditions of the day are what I really want to remember.
Things like bait color that eventually started catching fish are not as important to my memory banks as the water conditions that made me use a specific presentation. A simple explanation to this would be, black and blue in cold, muddy water. I’m always going to try black and blue in cold, muddy water. However, let’s say there has been a warming trend and the water temperature is up two degrees. I’ve caught a couple on a black and blue jig, but the latest catch was while swimming to the boat. I’m crazy enough that I’ll build a spinnerbait with a black and blue skirt and slow roll it. Whether it worked or not, this is what I want to remember.
I keep records of all my fishing trips. Rarely do I record specific locations in those reports. Some of the items you will find in my records are water temperatures, how deep the fish were, all things weather for the day and two days before, type of baits used and how productive they were, and finally that one thing I learned.
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