Heed Mother Nature’s signs

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Bill Lowen showing off one before it's released back into the Sam Rayburn.
Texas Fest Judge
Bill Lowen showing off one before it's released back into the Sam Rayburn.

Modern bass fishing is all about technology these days. We see it everywhere. GPS and SONAR are beyond good, and our equipment is keeping pace. We have specific rods and reels for specific baits and a different type of line for every occasion. The dashboard and surrounding area of a modern bass boat looks like the inside of a fighter plane. 

Bass fishing is no longer a simple, peaceful recreational activity. It’s now a highly developed competitive sport. Despite all that sophistication, however, we’re still at the mercy of Mother Nature. We chase creatures in their environment, an outdoor environment for which we’re ill-suited to compete. If the truth be told, the fish have the advantage.

That’s why I think that sometimes it’s good to think in simple terms. Instead of trying to catch them by collecting every bit of information we can think of and getting all technical about lure selection and placement maybe we should relax, look around and check out what Mother Nature is telling us.

I fish with my brother-in-law, Josh McCreary, at lot when I’m not competing. We have a saying that if we hear a turkey gobble, or especially if we see one, we know we’re going to have a good day. It’s mostly true, too.

I know a lot of guys — and many of them are solid anglers — who will tell you to watch the cows on your way to the lake in the mornings. If they’re laying down, you’re probably in for a tough day. If they’re up and grazing, it’ll be just the opposite. 

The same thing is often said about squirrels running the bank, beavers working on their dams, raccoons feeding in the shallows, birds chirping and ducks quacking. 

There’s some truth to all of that, I think. I’m a serious deer, turkey and duck hunter as well as bass fisherman. I can tell you that animals go active, and they go negative. And, it seems to me that it happens with all of them at the same time — warmblooded or coldblooded and regardless of whether they fly in the air, run on the ground or swim in the water. 

So maybe it’s not all that crazy to listen for turkeys in the morning or look to see what the cows are doing. Maybe it’s a little old-fashioned, but remember that they caught a lot of fish and harvested a lot of game in the old days. Maybe old-fashioned isn’t so bad.

I’m not saying to let these things control your schedule. I’ll never turn around just because I can’t find a turkey in the woods or because the cows were laying down in a field. And I wouldn’t brag too loud about how many I was going to catch just because I saw a beard a little ways up the hill or because the cows were up eating breakfast as I was heading to the ramp.

I would take note of those things, however, because Mother Nature’s signs are not to be ignored.