Details matter

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

I’ve been watching guys around the lake a lot lately, and thinking about the way I sometimes do things. There’s something we need to talk about and something that all of us need to keep in mind. Details matter. It doesn’t help one bit to get in a hurry and cut corners. In fact, it’ll kill your fishing in the end.

One of the first things that comes to mind is knot tying. We all need to take our time tying our knots. There are several good ones around. It isn’t necessary to pick one particular type and treat it like it’s sacred. What is necessary is that we tie the one we choose to use with care.

I am amazed at the number of breakoffs I see and hear about. It’s crazy. Most of them are unnecessary and could be easily avoided. All that’s required is a few extra seconds to do it right.

That’s also true with boats. Why fish out of a boat that looks like a trash can? The average bass boat can be organized in less than an hour before we leave home. It doesn’t have to be perfectly organized, just enough so that things are out of the way and so that you can find what you need is plenty.

Things we need at the last minute can be stowed away in compartments in minutes once we’re at the dock. Those efforts will make the whole day more enjoyable, and will help us catch more fish.

Tackle is no different. There’s no need to fish with dull hooks when it takes 5 minutes or less to put a point on them with a small file. And, how many of us don’t take the time to make sure our Texas rigged worms hang straight? We just get it “good enough” and then wonder why the other guy catches more fish than we do.

This is not a column about taking time to smell the roses. We all want to get on the water as fast as possible and get our baits in front of the fish quickly. If we will only take a few extra minutes to do things right, however, we’ll have more fish to brag about when we get back to the dock.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with smallmouth fishing, the answer is simple — everything. No fish jumps into your boat. Most days you have to work hard to catch them. Smallies in particular tend to be wary and they don’t tolerate angler mistakes. You need to be at the top of your game to catch them consistently. That starts with paying attention to the details.

Think about it this way: watch how the top professional anglers operate. They might work quickly but you rarely see them cut corners. You don’t see trash around their boats, poor knots, dull hooks and loose tackle everywhere. They know that kind of stuff doesn’t help them in the end. It won’t help any of us, either. 

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