It’s funny how subjective fishing trips are. I made a short fishing trip this weekend with my son and on the way home; we were discussing how slow the fishing had been. We’d fished about 3 ½ hours and had caught 21 fish. Now for most fishing days that would have been great but we’d been fishing on a private lake where we normally catch close to that many an hour.
Trips like this one are a great reminder of a several things. First off, it reminds me how many opportunities for great fishing are all around us. In most of the country, there are numerous small bodies of water that are teaming with bass. Private neighborhood lakes, golf course lakes, state lakes and privately owned lakes offer some of the finest bass fishing available. And surprisingly enough, they are often the most underutilized of our waters.
I believe that part of the reason these lakes don’t get the use they should is that once we buy that $50,000 or higher bass boat, a lot of us feel like we have to fish the bigger lakes and rivers to justify the cost. I’ve certainly been guilty of that myself and I have to admit, the first time I launched the Phoenix off of a dirt bank into this particular lake, I was pretty nervous about it. After all, I wasn’t entirely sure that my truck would pull it back out but since there was a tractor nearby, we gave it a try. I shouldn’t have worried, it came out as easily as it went in and the fishing more than made it worth the effort.
The second thing that comes to mind, thinking about this fishing trip, is how big a part of bass fishing is mental. I went out that morning expecting to catch 50 bass in a 3 hour trip and was disappointed to only catch 21 fish. I know, it’s kind of silly. There are tons of fishermen who would have considered that a fantastic day and I should know better than to consider that day less than a total success. The mental part of tournament fishing is an area that I’ve struggled to control and it’s an area in which the truly great fishermen excel. You often have to be prepared to do away with a pattern that will produce large numbers of smaller fish and fish a way that will, hopefully, produce the 5 larger fish you need to do well. That’s hard to do and requires a mental toughness that is often overlooked.
Finally and most importantly, the best reminder of the day is how much I really just enjoy getting out and fishing for the pure enjoyment of it. Most fishermen never realize what a grind tournament fishing can become. Getting out and fishing just for fun, is a great reminder of why I do this in the first place. And what really made this trip special was that my son was along for the trip. We used to fish every week, but now that he lives 9 hours away, we only get a couple of weeks a year to get together. Trips with him or my daughter bring back a lot of memories of trips we took together in the past. Trips with lots of fish, trips with no fish and trips in between; those are memories that will stay with me long beyond any check or trophy from any tournament. And that’s what fishing is all about and always will be, at least for me.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Mercury Motors, Motorguide Trolling Motors, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Bass Angler Magazine and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.