Fishing Simple is Better…Sometimes


I remember when I first went fishing more than 50 years ago. I fondly remember the long, heavy cane pole with a reel that didn’t work that was taped to the pole. I had a couple of guides and a tip on the pole along with heavy braided line, to which was attached a big bobber, a long-shanked gold hook and a couple of split shot. I also distinctly remember the magic of watching the bobber go down, and shortly after, the thrill of holding a bluegill, bullhead or sometimes a largemouth bass in my hand.

Simple times. Simple fishing. And fun.

A while later when I got my first graphite rod and spinning reel and monofilament line, I thought the days of simple fishing were over. I was wrong, and I’m glad I was.

A couple of years ago I was reintroduced to fishing with a long rod and a short piece of line. The rod was much different than the rod I used those many years ago; it was telescopic and very lightweight. There was no reel or guides, just a tip that a length of strong, but extremely lightweight line of maybe 30 inches was tied to. Also, there was no bobber, just a tiny Fire-Fly Jig and small minnow or piece of Impulse plastic.

We moved slowly and quietly through the rushes and shallow vegetation, dipping our little jigs into pockets and near clumps of vegetation. Frequently, we would see our jig being eaten by a crappie, bluegill or yellow bass. And every time we saw that, there was that moment of excitement and magic I hope never goes away. We were kind of reliving our childhoods, and having a wonderful time doing so.

The great thing about fishing is that it can be whatever we want it to be. To many, fishing is owning a couple of rod/reel combinations and one tackle box with some jigs, crankbaits an in-line spinner or two and a couple of other favorite lure types. The angler that this sort of fishing appeals to enjoys his/her style of fishing, and that’s great. But there are other anglers who have many more rods and reels and several tackle boxes each dedicated to a particular lure type. This angler has a box just for walleye jigs, another box for bass jigs and others for different baits.

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There are times though when it’s not a bad thing and can actually be very productive to just take a couple of rods and reels and commit to a very basic style of fishing, especially when a new angler is being introduced to fishing.

Keep it simple, catch some fish and get that new angler excited about fishing. If they get hooked on the sport and the first couple of trips are pleasant, then you can add more techniques and other pieces of equipment to the arsenal.

That long rod and short line technique is great for walking on docks, dipping the jig ahead of you along the dock posts and such. It’s inexpensive, simple and productive.

Since that day decades ago when I started fishing with what is now an ancient rod, our equipment has improved so much, and so has our fishing. We’re now catching more and bigger fish of many different species. The opportunity for a memorable fishing trip is better now than ever. However, we still have to start somewhere, and when it comes to fishing, much of the time simple fishing is the best way to start.


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