The reality of fishing

This week I’m going to tell one on myself. After a wonderful Thanksgiving with Becky’s parents and some of her family, we came back to the house to enjoy a little rest and relaxation before I have to start traveling again. That’s a simple enough plan, something I can handle. I didn’t count on yesterday, however.

There’s this local TV show up here that airs on a local channel. They wanted me to film a segment on a local lake. My challenge was to catch 10 bass in 5 hours. Beyond that, the details are of no importance.

I said sure, why not? That’ll be easy enough. I’ve been fishing this particular lake for over 30 years. I know every drop, ledge, stump and point in it. At this time of the year, catching a couple of quick limits won’t be any problem at all. My plan was to go out, do my job and be in the house before the opening kickoff.

But that was before I launched my boat. In short order, I knew this would be no cakewalk. I couldn’t buy a bass; it just wasn’t happening. The water wasn’t warm enough to put them on the feed and it wasn’t cold enough to put them on their winter pattern. On top of that, there was this weird algae bloom in the water. It was ugly.

The most frustrating thing about it was that I knew they were there. My total catch for the day was five bass, and I caught all of them at the very end. Worse, it was on tape. It was humiliating. Everyone I know from the early days will be watching. I’m sure I’ll hear about it — in a good natured way, of course. But I’ll hear about it, nevertheless.

In the grand scheme of things, however, that’s what I love about fishing. Yesterday was reality in the real-world. I don’t care who you are, how much experience you have, how much you know about a venue or how good your tackle is, you’ll never have them figured out. It just isn’t possible. They’re creatures who respond to things we humans can’t understand.

That means that every day is a new experience. The fish might be the same and the water might be the same but the fishing experience will be different. It’s not possible to get complacent in this sport. The fish won’t let you. Or I suppose it’s more accurate to say that if you do get complacent you’ll pay for it by coming back empty-handed.

The bottom line is that I got my butt handed to me by a lake I know well and by fish I should have been able to catch. It reminded me, though, of the beauty of fishing and why I love it like I do.

Next week we’ll talk about some new things I’m doing with Rapala and how they’ll help you catch more bass.

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