As my hunting season winds down without the giant buck I had hoped to get this season, I am left thinking that I spread myself too thin. Instead of hunkering down in one or two key areas and focusing on the finer details within those areas, I jumped around to a bunch of different spots. Nothing big ever materialized. In hindsight, I think I made the same mistake a lot of anglers make with their fishing. It's similar to the "grass is greener on the other side" theory, and every time I went looking on the other side I came up empty.
In fishing, anglers will often spend too much time running all over the lake looking for that magic spot. Truth be told, magic spots are rare and hard to find. I think most pros believe that finding a good area and then getting very intimate with it and understanding it will prove to be much more successful than running around looking for "greener pastures."
As professional anglers who do this for a living, we have the advantage of pre-practice and then a three day pre-fish to really narrow down the best areas. More than anything, in pre-practice (practice before the lake goes off limits) we generally eliminate a lot of areas of the lake. These are areas we won't waste time on during the official pre-fish days. By eliminating these areas, it allows us to focus on the area(s) we decide to fish without wondering in the back of our minds if we are missing something better. Instead, we can focus on the areas we are fishing and understand how the fish are relating to those areas and spots within those areas.
Don't get me wrong, we generally have several of these areas that we have really dissected and understand for each tournament. It's still much better to have a few areas you know very well then to run all over the lake looking for a winning spot.
Even if you aren't fishing a tournament, I think this is a better plan for you. More often than not, you'll be more successful sticking to a few smaller areas and getting intimate with them rather than trying to fish the whole lake. If you don't have time to practice for a few days, you can still focus on a few smaller areas and really break them down to be successful.
As the pre-practice period for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic comes to an end, I plan to get out to Grand Lake for a week. I hope to eliminate a lot of water and find a few key areas that I can focus on when our official pre-fish begins in February.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family, friends and loved ones. I know we did here at Camp Chapman. I'd like to send out special thanks to everyone who has or is serving our country and giving us the freedom we all enjoy.