Anyone who spends time following or playing your traditional sports has heard the word fundamentals. Coaches of baseball, basketball, football, and soccer talk about it all the time. Solid fundamentals are what separate good players from the great ones. Even the most talented athletes need to have the basics down to be successful.
This past Monday my wife and I took our sons to a professional pitching instructor. Both kids love to play that particular position and have enjoyed success there. My wife and I had taught them everything that we knew; yet there was more they could learn. We knew that if they wanted to take their games to the next level, they had to learn from someone more qualified than us.
Their first lesson was astounding to say the least. In a matter of a few pitches, their instructor had seen their individual deliveries and saw a couple of fundamental things they could do better. In just a few minutes, they both were throwing more accurately with less effort. I was impressed.
The same can be said for our fishing. Anyone can go out and catch fish. There are some people though who can seemingly catch fish anywhere and under any condition. They put fish in the boat when the rest of us struggle. How do they do it? Can others learn from it? You bet.
Besides experience, most great anglers have solid fundamentals. Just like a professional football player knows how to tackle correctly, a good fisherman knows how to make a cast correctly. I could go on and on about what angling fundamentals we need to practice, but there is one that really stands out – tackle preparation.
I know that for me personally, I fall well short of where I need to be when it comes to my tackle being ready to go. When I talk about tackle, I’m referring to your lures, weights, hooks, etc. If your boat is like mine, there is an attempt to keep this mass of stuff organized, but as the year marches on, the boat deck becomes littered with things that need to be put away. There are also boxes that need to be restocked and all kinds of plastic bags with various items lying around in the storage compartments. I have great intentions of getting that stuff in order, but when I finally have an hour or two free, I choose to go fishing instead of cleaning out my gear.
Back when I was tournament fishing on a regular basis, this was completely unacceptable. I couldn’t afford to not have what I needed, when and where I needed it. It might mean the difference between making the final cut and cashing a check or going home early. Why shouldn’t this apply to recreational angling as well?
I don’t care if I’m fishing for two minutes or two hours, I always want to be prepared to make the most of my time on the water. Being able to access your gear in an efficient manner is a key part of the equation to be successful. I’m sure we all have neglected to change to a different lure when our instincts tell us to, but we don’t because it is going to be too much of a hassle.
You might be wondering what you can do to help with your organization and fundamental preparation. The first area I would start is by organizing your lures by presentation type. In other words, get your deep-water stuff together. Maybe you will have a box of deep diving crankbaits, a drop-shot box, and a box full of Carolina rig stuff. Then you might put together some heavy cover tackle. This could include a variety of hard and soft lures that are adept at getting into brush piles. Then there are the lures that are great at being fished around and through vegetation. This could include swim jigs, lipless cranks and soft plastics. Now don’t forget your topwater stuff. This list can go on, but the point is to get the things together for the body of water you are going to fish.
I know, it sounds so simple. Really, it is. It just takes time. The few hours that it will take to meet this fundamental need noticeably will increase the number of fish that you catch. Good luck this summer.