Less is more

Back when I first started fishing for a living I could do three or four things pretty well. Now I can do a dozen things pretty well. But I’m not sure that I catch more fish. I just do it with a bunch of different lures and techniques. 

At the level of the Bassmaster Elite Series that’s pretty much a necessity — maybe. If you’re fishing on the Sabine River and you need a fish to round out your limit, you reach for a Ned rig and toss it at a stump. But that’s not necessary for most recreational anglers and in some cases even for a pro angler. 

It’s kind of like going to a buffet when you haven’t eaten all day. You’re hungry and so everything looks good. You grab some of everything, but you don’t really get to enjoy the foods you like the best. You just eat whatever looks good. When it’s over you’re stuffed and miserable, but full is still full and you aren’t any more healthy. 

My own fishing is an example of what I’m talking about. A jig was my thing back in the early days. I’d fish it all day — most days anyway — and I did fairly well. I’d never do that now. When a lure doesn’t work for me I put it away. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

That’s something I think a lot of anglers would benefit from. Don’t put a dozen rods and reels on the deck of your boat. Go with the few things that you have confidence in and work to make them produce for you. Then, if they don’t work, make changes. The thing not to do, though, is grab a different rod and reel for every target you see. 

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen local anglers do that and absolutely kill some of the pros. They fish the way they know will work, and it does work.

Another advantage to limiting your lures and techniques is that you get better with them. Your mind isn’t cluttered with worrying about a lot of other stuff. It’s simple: The more you fish a crankbait, or any other lure, the better you get at it, the more you learn about it. 

I know that what I’m saying flies in the face of what you hear from some of the other anglers. It’s not that I’m saying not to do different things when what you are doing isn’t working. And I’m not saying not to learn new techniques. What I am saying is not to go overboard with it. 

It’s easy to look at a bank and think you need to fish a topwater plug on one spot, a jerkbait on another and a swimbait on a third spot. But if you aren’t careful all that’ll do is confuse you and result in no fish. Maybe if you stick with one lure you’d catch one or two off that bank and at the end of the day you’d have a nice sack.  

Less is not always less. Sometimes less is more.