Fishing’s 4-Letter Word

By Dave Mercer

one thing about fishing and anglers that drives me totally insane is a four-letter word that is often used in while fishing. That four-letter word is not what you are thinking. The four-letter word I am talking about is L-U-C-K! You hear anglers say it after an unsuccessful outing, “No luck on the water today.” Even when anglers ask each other how they are doing they will say those 4 letters, “Any LUCK today?” The worst way I have ever heard an angler’s use it was, “I hope I get Lucky today???” Really – you hope you get Lucky today??? Be careful with that one because it can mean something totally different.

However, no matter where you fish or what you fish for, some anglers are just better than others. Sure, maybe they cast better, maybe they have better spots but if all that is equal, what makes some anglers better than others? If it is not LUCK, what is it? If you ask me it’s not luck, it’s something else. Plain and simple: it’s the ability to pay attention. That’s right, I said it.  You have to pay attention while on the water. Seems simple enough but let’s be honest, most of us don’t go fishing to pay attention.  Most of us use fishing as a release from our everyday work life that requires us to pay attention. So if your goal is to just kick back and relax then go ahead and enjoy. However, if you want to start catching more fish you need to start paying attention while on the water.

Rather than day dreaming the day away, try paying attention to the hints that fish give you. Let’s imagine you catch a fish.  For most people this moment becomes the perfect time to brag, boast and take some pictures. Don’t worry, there will still be time to do that but first you need to pay attention. Pay attention at the very moment the fish hits. What were you doing when the fish decided to eat your lure? Had you slowed down or speed up your bait? Or if you are trolling, did you just turn the boat? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then do that more often because it trigged one strike and chances are it will trigger another.

Even if it’s none of those things; you still have to pay attention. Make mental notes of the exact area and depth you were fishing when the fish hit and repeat that. You see fishing is no different than any other sport or past time. When you find something that works, duplicate it and it should work again. Even more importantly, if it does not work, don’t keep doing that. If you keep doing the same thing that did not work in the past then you are not fishing, you are hoping!

The biggest difference I see between an expert angler versus a novice angler is their ability to pay attention to those little hints that the fish give. The hints are there, you just have to ‘Pay Attention’ to see them.

I gotta be honest.  As I write this I can’t stop thinking that somewhere in the world there are a few people reading this and laughing to themselves. Why? Well they were all of my grade school teaches that routinely wrote on the comment section of my report cards “Dave needs to pay more attention in class”.

Thanks teachers!  This student finally listened to your advice and coaching and learned to Pay More Attention.