Life has a way of getting away from us, in my case it took a near apocalypse to switch things up. I have been fortunate enough to be located in a place where we have been able to fish the entire time as long as social distancing is practiced. Let’s forget the politics in this and also assume that by the time this gets put up we won’t have an episode of the walking dead on our hands.
Instead take a minute to think about how you used this “extra” time that a majority of us have had over the last month. Believe it or not I had a plan for this, no I didn’t predict this mess, but I always wished I had more time to try new things and had a wish list of things to accomplish. While this is directed at my walleye fishing, where I’m going with this applies to just about anything that swims and has gills.
One of those things I had to accomplish was to get some fish in my fridge in case things really did get out of hand. I’ve made a conscious effort in the last few years to eat better and literally had a completely empty freezer. Despite fishing nearly 200 days in a normal year I usually only keep fish two or three days for myself. This was evident by the small traces of rust on my fillet knife.
Next I wanted to fish waters I never had before and with tactics I rarely if ever use. This also included spending most of this time casting and not trolling.
As a full time professional angler and owner of a guide service I have to produce each and every day. This leaves very little time for messing around and has caused me to feel like I have been in a rut when it comes to experimenting the last few years. I like to innovate and try to stay a few steps ahead, but it’s difficult to go cold turkey with tactics that are productive. This is especially the case when you have a camera or client at your feet, trust me!
In the early years of the PWT (Professional Walleye Trail) or FLW circuit a majority of the events were won by trolling. The last few years casting has made a comeback thanks to anglers tossing baits such as Rippin or Jigging raps on isolated targets such as small rock piles for overlooked fish.
To get too deep into a specific tactic is missing the point. I’ve spent better than two decades perfecting my craft and priding myself on knowing the islands, humps and bumps on the 11th largest freshwater body in the world. While I’d like to think I know it better than anyone, to think that anyone can live long enough to master it is, well… just foolish. Things seem to change faster than we as anglers can learn them, but those same frustrating factors is likely what makes it so addicting at the same time. To quote my longtime friend and dominate tournament angler Joe Okada, “No one can master it Ross, not even you.”
If there is one thing I have learned from doing hundreds of seminars it’s that I can’t leave you guys without giving you a tease or glimmer of hope on how to locate these seemingly ghost like fish and then make the damn things bite. For this you must forget a magic lure and realize if there is a magic bullet its technology. For years I have given “my secret” of marking fish at speeds in excess of 30mph with extreme accuracy only to get messages back from lots of anglers that they can’t find the video on my You Tube page. If you can’t find my transducer videos on you tube I’m starting to understand why you also can’t find fish, just saying.
Electronics are the new not so secret weapon. Side imaging has been taken to a new level thanks to Humminbird’s Mega units. I was fortunate enough to be able to get my hands on the new Mega 360 and all I can tell you is that equipment like this is going to change the way we fish.
It looks as if we are turning the corner soon and can get back to normal life, but take or make some time to fish new waters, try new things, you might just be surprised what it does for your fishing. One thing it does for most of us is help keep our sanity. Sometimes you learn what to do not because of success, but because of failure.