A big part of fishing success is rhythm — you get into a pattern of when to do what and you build on that. This year, we’re all going to find that the Coronavirus has disrupted our rhythm, but I don’t think we have to let it completely derail our fishing mindset.
For me, I’ve been fishing tournaments for 20 years and spring events have been my bread and butter; likewise for a lot of anglers. First, I enjoy spring fish and I usually do pretty well the sight fishing and prespawn/postspawn type stuff. But a good spring also gives you confidence. Getting out there and catching big fish — a lot of fish — and enjoying beautiful days on the water gets your mind right and gets your competitive juices flowing.
Having several postponements and probably starting our season in the summer, it’s going to be a different deal that will throw people for a loop. That’s why, if you can do it safely, it’s probably good to get out and fish a little right now.
It will allow you to stay on top of the fish’s seasonal migrations, so when we finally get to resume this year’s tournament schedule, you’ll be in tune with the season and what’s happening. After sitting stagnant, you don’t want to be out of tune.
It will definitely be a different kind of season, but if you go into the tournaments — whenever they start — with a clear understanding of where the fish are, you won’t waste time chasing something that’s not there.
B.A.S.S. has started a very encouraging social media campaign with the hashtags #livesmart and #fishsmart to remind us how important it is to continue on with our lives, but to do so in a safe and responsible manner. My family and I have been embracing this, and I think it’s going to be helpful in the long run.
We’ve done a little fishing, but for the past week, we’ve been quarantined down pretty tight. It seems the cases of infection have been increasing, so we’re being a little more cautious.
That’s not to say we had not been cautious before. I had been on a few fishing trips, and now I’m restricting myself to family trips. We have everything packed up here, so we don’t have much contact with stores or gas stations. Again, just being a little more cautious for the time being.
We’re a fishing family, so we gotta get out of the house a little, but I’m also using this time off to catch up on the honey-do list. We’ve been up on the roof cleaning out gutters, and I’ve worked on a washing machine that was giving us some trouble. I’ve been playing handyman around the house.
The other thing I’m doing is what I affectionately call “playing tackle” — organizing my tackle and getting everything ready for when we get back to fishing tournaments. This is something I’d recommend for all anglers because making wise use of this downtime will help prepare you for what we hope isn’t too far down the road.
I’ll get my boat set up and go through the motions just like if we were getting ready for a tournament. It’s really a good time to go through all of your lures and replace or clean any hooks with rust on them. You can use steel wool and WD-40 to get the rust off, but if it’s too bad, replace them with some fresh ones.
It’s also good to go through all your baits and evaluate their condition. A lot of times, jerkbaits and crankbaits will swell up when they go through different temperature changes and that affects the way they run. So I’ll be going through my tackle and culling out the things that I don’t believe are tournament-grade.
We may not know exactly when we’ll be able to get back to the tournaments we enjoy so much, but the more we stay on top of the fishing season and do the things to keep our routine going, the better prepared we’ll be when the time comes.