MAXIMIZE YOUR FISHING TIME
We put up a forum post a bit back, asking our readers what kind of stuff they wanted to hear about in this column. The responses varied quite a bit. I got a lot of requests for sword stuff, SST chart reading, tips and techniques, etc. Here is one of my favorites: “We hear about all the glory and good fishing, what about the stress on home and family life?” I can't wait to write about that one.
But for now I think I will write about tips, techniques and strategy while you can use it during the season. I'll write about the old days when we are all bored outta our minds in the wintertime.
Several guys asked for some thoughts about fishing out of small boats and that seems like a good place to start.
In a season like this one, I keep as many options open as possible — anything to make your trip a success. I can't tell you how many seasons we couldn't find our target species so we shifted gears and fished for something else. A lot of the areas I fish, even to this day, are places I stumbled on during “strange” seasons — some more than 30 years ago. It is never a good idea to try new styles or techniques when the fishing is slow but I gotta say, never give up trying new techniques or ideas. This last year made a believer — again. In fact, that reminds me of a story.
Late in the season back in 1984 the albacore were just about gone. They had gotten a pretty big tail in the last week and were moving northwest at a good clip. It looked like the season was coming to an end. We had been trolling really well all season and had been stopped better than the bulk of the fleet. This day, however, was different. I was marking fish but wasn't getting any bites. Nobody was. I stopped on several good marks and threw bait but recorded no bites and no boils.
About halfway through the day one of the charter guests comes up to the bridge with a lure and asks me to put it out. I kid you not — it was a Bagley O bass lure in a rainbow trout color — the one with the big huge belly and an enormous lip. I tried not to laugh him off the bridge.
About an hour later he comes back up with the same request. After about his fifth time I yell down to George, “Here put this thing out.” I think I even kicked it up 100 rpm so the stupid thing would really look like hell. When my mate put it out, the rod would load up and the foolish lure would whip out of the water, cartwheeling across the surface and dig back in, just as I had planned. The first couple of times I think George even ducked. After about the tenth aerial event, something ate it upon re-entry — an albacore. (I think that may have been when I took a firm hold of one of my favorite sayings… “You've GOT to be kidding me!”)
And so it went for the remainder of the afternoon. Put the thing out, cartwheels, duck a few times and zzzzzzzzzzzzz — we're on!
I think we caught something like 15 on it before we lost the lure during one of its acrobatic displays. Thank God. Anyway, we got almost no tip that day and dirty looks all around for not putting that lure out sooner.
As soon as we got in I ran to Big 5 and bought several. I still have one on the wall of my garage. Now I'm not saying to go buy one of these lures and put it out. It's just a reminder to keep an open mind. I bet you money that a mini dredge would be deadly on tunas.