By Marc Rogers
Many times a weekend angler attains great knowledge of one fishing technique while others do not get enough of their attention. When conditions are right for this one specialty he or she will have good success catching fish. However, when conditions call for the use of a technique an angler isn’t comfortable with the success rate falls dramatically.
There are many ways for an angler to gain more knowledge of a particular technique. Reading everything available on the subject is the most widely used for improvement and watching professional anglers on television is also a good way to gain more knowledge. However, nothing will be better than on the water experience and repeated use of the angling technique.
Many years ago my biggest strength was bass fishing with plastic worms. This was true for two reasons. Plastic worm fishing was my first experience bass fishing with an artificial lure. Second, I used the technique repeatedly because I had gained much confidence fishing this way due to catch rates. However, at this time my fishing consisted of late spring to early fall fishing which was not as productive when I expanded my angling time to include all four seasons.
There was a tournament I once competed in that the winning anglers used crankbaits exclusively. I finished in the bottom of the field because my “go to” technique was still plastic worms and I failed to adjust to the conditions. After this event I decided my chances of being competitive were very limited if I didn’t learn new techniques and become more adaptable.
This situation occurred in the early spring so my solution was to gain as much knowledge as possible about crankbaits. Every trip for the next several months my boat was loaded with nothing but crankbaits on each fishing trip. This was difficult as my catch rates were greatly reduced. However, I was forced to get better with crankbaits if I were to increase my catch rates.
Seeking out any information available about fishing crankbaits helped me improve the technique. Printed articles and television shows were helpful. Fishing with anglers who were etter than myself with crankbaits also helped but nothing was more productive than on the water experience.
At this time I am still not an expert with crankbaits but have become much better with them and my catch rates show this. My strengths are still in worm and jig fishing but I am more comfortable when conditions call for crankbaits. Each year from this time forward I chose a technique that I needed to improve and repeated the process.
If you are interested in improving a fishing technique I have learned from experience that this process is a very effective way to do so. It does require an angler to leave their comfort zone. However, staying in the comfort zone will limit experience and you will never improve to the level of your potential. Chose a technique and give it a try.