It seems like with all sports, there is a never-ending conflict between the old school, traditional way of doing things and the new school, high-tech approach. With fishing, the tradition has been around for almost as long as the humans have been walking on two feet, and yet the sport continues to advance at a pretty quick clip. The poles keep getting lighter and stronger, the lures more realistic and the sonar more advanced. We could go on and on.
For the modern fisherman, every fishing trip becomes a choice. Do you want to simply grab a pole, hunker down next to your favorite fishing hole and let fate decide? Or do you want to give yourself every advantage that technology has to offer? By following a few simple guidelines, you can start to decide when a traditional setup will suffice, and when it’s time to go all out.
When You’re Teaching
Fishing is one of those activities that takes about five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Whether you’re taking a child, girlfriend, or coworker fishing for the first time, you want to be a good advocate for your sport, but you also want to ensure that they have a good time. The key is get them to want to come fishing again, so keep your setup as traditional as possible. Your kids may be impressed by your latest high-dollar sonar equipment, but it probably won’t help them catch that first bluegill. Pick a simple reel and teach your first-timer how to string it and knot the hook. With any luck, you can start to ease them into the nuances of lure selection on the second trip.
When You’re on A Boat
There is a wealth of amazing new gadgets to help improve your technique and up your chances of landing a lunker. A day-long boat trip can be great time to pull out all of the stops. This is when you want to experiment because the conditions are perfect and you’re more than likely to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are just as curious to see if that Megabass S-Crank Lure really can deliver on its promise. Bringing all of your gear is also just practical. If you forget something, it’s going to be a lot harder to go back and get it. Plus you can always downshift and simplify your approach as the day goes on.
When You Want to Get Better
There are as many theories about how to fish as there are fisherman. The same goes for theories about how to be a better fisherman. Do the best fisherman use a minimal amount of gear and rely purely on their wits to catch fish? Or do the best fisherman know how to select the right gear for the situation? The answer is probably somewhere in between. But when you’re just learning to fish — even if you are very quickly becoming a fishing fanatic — the simplest, most traditional approach is probably the way to go. You can always buy new gear, but you’ll probably get more out of it if you’ve taken the time to work on your basic technique. That said, once you’ve put in a few hundred hours of fishing, it can’t hurt to reward yourself.