Spend a few minutes discussing Garrett Paquette’s career path and you might think you’re conversing with an actuarial accountant. For him, it’s all about the probability, both in terms of knowing what fish want as well as his personal preferences.
After enjoying a strong 2019 rookie season, the 24-year-old from Canton, Mich., has already established himself as legit competitor — a truth made possible by his disciplined adherence to a mathematical approach.
He did his homework
Following up on an idea from his engineer father, Phillip, Paquette studied five years of B.A.S.S. and FLW Tour events and entered the key data into an Excel spreadsheet to analyze the trends. He could’ve gone deeper into the history, but Paquette equated timeliness with relevance.
“I thought that the last five to seven years was what I needed to study just because of the technology changes,” he said. “In the 1970s and 80s everybody was throwing spinnerbaits on the bank. Today, it’s a little different with the modern fish finders, GPS and all of that.”
Evaluating what produced for the Top 10 anglers at each event, Paquette established general summaries such as soft plastic baits, skirted baits, bottom-dragging baits, ledge-fishing baits and sight-fishing baits. He then broke down those categories for specific insights.
“I might have a crankbait as being 25 percent of a Top 10, but then it may be a squarebill is 10 percent, a deep crank is 8 percent,” Paquette said. “So, I have general bait categories, but then we’ve broken it down into what specific baits produced for the tournament’s Top 10.”
The results opened his eyes to historical results, as well as future expectations.
“For example, everyone likes to throw a swimbait, but if you look at the numbers of how many times a swimbait has made the Top 10, I think as far as one single bait, it’s the highest ranking,” Paquette said. “That kind of caught me off guard and that might have been a part of my game that was lacking at the time. So I went out and tried to learn the intricacies of fishing a swimbait and put it into my game more and more.”