Hackney: Do what works for you

I’ve been reading the comments under the last few columns. Basically, they show something I’ve always tried to say about fishing. It’s a sport that can be enjoyed by any number of people, at any level and with a wide variety of techniques.

If you want to enjoy fishing to the max, do what works for you.

Choosing a line and knot system is an excellent example of what I’m talking about. I fish with Gamma line and use a Palomar knot. Like I said, I can’t remember the last time I broke off. Maybe it’s the way I tie the knot or maybe it’s that Gamma line is uniquely suited to the Palomar. No matter, it works for Hackney so that’s what Hackney’s going to use.   

If that combination doesn’t work for you, you should use what does. It isn’t about one brand of fishing line being better than another or one type of knot being better than another. It’s what works in your system.

The same thing is true when it comes to targeting fish. Mostly I’m not looking to catch bass. I’m looking to catch five winning size bass. If you’re a recreational angler, your goals might be very different. Maybe you’d rather catch 15 bass that average 2 pounds. It’s about the action with you, not size. That’s fine.

One set of goals isn’t better or more important than the other. We’re all out there doing our thing. Some of us are working. Some of us are trying to get away from work.

All that is why I think everyone should be careful about the advice they receive from their friends and, frankly, the advice they receive from professional anglers — myself included. The best is useful. It gives you a place to start, something to think about. In the end, though, it’s really information about what we do as professional anglers.

We can look at it another way if we go back to my knot column. One of the big things about the Palomar knot to me is that I can tie it faster than any other knot. I get one extra cast in every time I have to retie. As a professional angler that’s important to me.

Is that as important to a recreational angler as it is to me? I doubt it. It might be nice to cast a few more times during your fishing day but it’s hardly something to get all worked up about. Take your time, tie whatever knot works for you and enjoy the rest of your day.

If there’s one thing I want to leave you with this week, it’s that you shouldn’t get too worked up about things that don’t matter much to you. Somebody smarter than me once said that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.

Spend some time this winter thinking about what it is that you really want bass fishing to do for you, and then plan next year accordingly. If you want to learn new techniques, that’s fine. If you want to fish with crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Texas rigged worms, that’s just as good. It’s not about right or wrong and it’s not always about catching the most or the biggest bass. The winner is the man or woman who has the most fun.

Next week we’ll talk about what works for me when I target bass on bluff walls.