Remembering Fishing Lessons Learned


There’s no downtime in fishing. It may be true that cold weather will remove the urgency from our desire to plan for summer, but there’s always time for reflection on lessons learned from past seasons. And we will always have the need to program our minds for the many days we’ll be on the water.

One activity that helps me focus on future adventures is to review my photo library from last year. It seems like each photo has a way of bringing back a memory or an idea that can be utilized on future outings. But timing is one aspect of my photo library that needs consideration. I remember the monster bass we found along an inside weedline back one early June day on one particular lake. No matter what else is on my calendar this year, I need to make more than one trip to this body of water to take advantage of this short-lived window.

The presentation was simple: wacky worms dropped along the inside weedline. These were more than the bucketmouths could resist. Not far from this location I discovered a lake that had a moderate population of walleyes. These fish were somewhat difficult to locate on most days, but when the wind howled out of the northwest it certainly brought these walleyes up along one wavy shoreline.

There was no doubt that fighting the wind there was a challenge. It was not an easy place to fish, but then again, if a person wants to catch walleyes you deal with the conditions you are dealt with. At least the wind helped to eliminate the competition from this spot.

It was also during a summer-walleye excursion that I happened upon a deep, isolated cabbage bed. Many times when we trolled a leech or ‘crawler through this area we’d hook into a big largemouth bass. Although we never went back and targeted these fish with standard “bassing” equipment, you can be sure this weed pocket is on my radar for this summer. Fishing for walleyes then helped me to add a possible bass location to my list of places to go back to.

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But the lessons learned from last summer aren’t all easy to take in.

I have one lake that I’ve targeted for bass for many years. However, due to treating large masses of curly-leafed pondweed with herbicides, the cabbage beds that once held the bass were destroyed. I have to accept the fact that this lake will never be the same again. Still, I may consider making a trip or two to this water this summer or at least think about it. But I also must stop fishing past memories and realign my expectations to match the consistently poor output of this lake.

One other aspect of paying attention to lessons learned comes in the willingness to try new techniques. There are several presentations that have caught my eye over the last couple of years that I have not yet experimented with. We can always listen and learn from others and should pay close attention to someone else’s successes.

May is the time to do some serious planning for the summer fishing season ahead. Now is the best time to start thinking about taking advantage of the numerous lessons we have learned and apply them.