As a tournament angler, I spend most of my time trying to figure fish out, not necessarily catching a lot of fish. There are days where I do catch a lot of fish in a tournament, but usually six to 12 fish a day is about it. Sometimes it's nice to just go "catching." Finding a small lake or pond that has a lot of fish will allow you to worry less about finding fish and you can concentrate more on just catching them. For me, a good day of catching fish can go a long way to rejuvenating me for the rest of the year.
This past weekend I had the chance to get out on the water with Joe Thomas of Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors, a television show on the Outdoor Channel. We spent two days on a small lake in Central Missouri and we whacked 'em. We ended up with three fish in the 8 pound range, a 6 pounder and a bunch of 5 pounders. It was a lot of fun, and it's got me fired up to finish the season on the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Clair.
One thing about this sport is that legends don't retire early; successful pros typically have long careers. In other sports someone you look up to at an early age is generally retired well before you can ever reach their ranks to compete with or against them.
With fishing, the legends are likely to be still fishing when you reach their level. Fishing, both competitively and for fun, is something anyone can do for the much of their life. While Joe Thomas is still young, he's someone I've I looked up to since I started in this industry. His book, Diary of a Bass Pro (written by Joe and the late Tim Tucker), is a great read and really helped me understand the tournament business. Anyone wanting to fish tournaments should check it out.
Another benefit of going catching instead of fishing is the chance to try out some new products. I had the chance to try out the new Mesu Bait 5/8-ounce flipping jig, and I paired it with a TightLines UV Bubba Craw. I was very impressed. I've been excited about this new jig for a while because it's built with a TroKar hook. This will be a go-to flipping setup for me for the foreseeable future.
The Bubba Craw, while new on the market, has been my main jig trailer all season. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly it. If you aren't a huge believer in UV technology, just try one pack and see the difference. Think about it this way: it' a great soft plastic bait with good action, it comes in wide variety of colors, and it has something other don't — UV technology.
I can't tell you where you can go catching instead of just fishing near where you live, but keep your eyes and ears open for the opportunity. A small lake with a lot of fish is a good place to start, if you can find one. A good day catching can allow you to work on some new tackle and have a lot of fun with a good friend. The couple days I spent with Joe Thomas this past weekend is going to go a long way in helping me finish the 2013 Elite Series season strong.