That one good fish, part 2

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Steve Bowman

I ended my column last time with the observation that the one good fish is never a given. I also observed that it’s something you can’t control. You can fish carefully and methodically using all your skills and knowledge of the water, but she’s still not under your control. That can’t be emphasized enough. All you can do is give it your best, and hope for the best.

Editors note: Read part 1 here.

When I think about what I said I realize it might have sounded negative. I didn’t mean that. What I meant was that some things are not totally under our control and catching that one good fish is one of them. There are things that are under your control, however. We’ll talk about them in just a minute. 

So maybe you don’t always catch her, but you do sometimes. And when “sometimes” happens it changes your whole day. You’ll know you caught her the minute she bites. I can’t tell you how. It’s not something you can run off with a checklist. There’s no measurement for it and no way to tell that it’s going to happen. It just does, and when it just does you just know it.

She’ll be bigger than the others you were catching, and she’ll bite under circumstances that are immediately clear to you. You’ll know where she was and what it was about that spot that attracted her to it. 

Once she’s in the boat you’ll start fishing with confidence, a calm head and a relaxed body. You’ll fish with a new mental attitude, confident that you know where to fish, where to put your bait and which one to throw. If you’re a tournament angler and it happens in practice, you’ll be able to run the lake and throw a waypoint on spots without ever making a cast. 

That all sounds crazy, I know. It’s like a zen or new age thing that doesn’t seem to fit into bass fishing. At first blush it says nothing, but if you think about it for a while you’ll realize it says everything. Almost every angler I know — pro and recreational — will tell you they’ve had the experience and that it changed the outcome of their day for the better.

Now let’s shift gears a little…

You may not be able to control things to guarantee that you will catch that one good fish, but you can do things that will guarantee you won’t catch her. Not taking care of your tackle and equipment is probably the most common. 

Fishing with old, nicked line and dull hooks is at the top of that list. A noisy, rattling trolling motor is not much further down as are reels that don’t spin freely and drags that jerk and grab. 

Beyond the tackle and equipment deal is your head. Fishing fast, not thinking about what you’re doing, missing your target when you cast and having a general-type negative attitude are real killers when it comes to catching that one good fish. If you aren’t fishing right and don’t believe you’re going to catch her on every cast, I can promise you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you won’t.

Think about some of what’s in these last two columns the next time you go fishing. You won’t regret it.