How-To

The backseat education

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to improve your fishing game is by observing others.

I have been reminded of that the past few months while trying to recover from a retinal hemorrhage that forced me to take a medical exemption from the Bassmaster Elites this summer.

I can still fish, but I am dealing with a lot of blurriness in one eye. As a result, I’ve been fishing quite a bit from the back seat of my buddies’ boats.

That’s given me the opportunity to observe how they do things and has opened my mind to things that would help me with my own fishing.

I’ve been a full-time professional angler for 31 years and know that getting in a rut can be a
detriment.

To help avoid that rut, I take advantage of opportunities to gain insight from other anglers whom I respect. And when I learn a better way of doing things, I make those changes.

Honestly though, it wasn’t easy for me to sit in the back and not run the boat. I’m a bit of a dominant angler when in my boat with others; I take over and do what I want to do.

Yet, I have learned to like not dominating the day in these situations because I’m more observant and pick up things that I probably wouldn’t notice if I were running the boat.

It might be in how he ties a specific knot, manages his tackle, re-rigs a bait in the heat of the moment or plays a big fish. It can be as basic as how he positions a boat while fishing a structure, or as simple as how he runs the lake.

With the evolving technology in electronics, I can learn a different graph setting or color palette that provides a clearer or better image on the screen.

Of course, one might learn a different and effective presentation or retrieve with a lure or gain insight in different colors of lures on a particular lake.

Sure, you can learn a lot from watching YouTube videos, but there’s nothing like being in the boat and watching a good angler do the “little things” different from your norm. These are things that can make you a more efficient and better all-round angler.

So, if you get a chance to share a boat with a good angler on a just-for-fun fishing day, seize the moment to sit back and observe. You may learn things that you wouldn’t have learned any other way.