Wild Times: Keep it simple at the end of the line
The sport of fishing has evolved over the last 75 years at a tremendous pace. Just the changes that I have seen in the last 20 years are astounding. There are so many different aspects to fishing that to cover or talk about all of them would exhaust you or maybe even bore you.
Maybe one of the most important elements of the fishing game is the final link from the fisherman to the fish, the bait. As far back as I can remember, I went fishing with my parents. Both of my parents enjoyed fishing, and they did a great job of taking me out to local ponds and the Sabetha City Lake to ply the waters.
The baits that they had me using were simple and effective. There were fishing sessions where a simple bobber and hook with some kind of live bait dangling from the hook were used. There were times when a simple Mepps spinner bait was tied on the end of the line. One of my favorites as a youngster was when I was allowed to graduate up to using a purple worm for bass fishing. I was witness to a lot of bass caught using the famous plastic worms with a pair of hooks, so it was only natural to want to join in on the fun.
There is a fishermen who I consider the best walleye fisherman in the world. Actually, I will call him the best fisherman that has ever hit the waters. He has forgotten more about fishing than any of us will ever know. He has done more for the fishing world than anyone else.
I was watching his television show last Saturday, and he was talking about catching walleye. His technique for the day consisted of going back to simpler times and techniques that were used 50 years ago. He tied on a simple 1/4 ounce jig with a hair body attached, nothing more and nothing less. It would be comparable to using equipment that I used as a youngster. He emphasized over and over that we tend to make fishing too complicated. He proceeded to catch fish after fish. He just tossed the jig out from the boat and let it fall to the bottom and snap jigged it back toward the boat and let the jig fall again to the bottom — simple but yet very effective.
How much simpler could it get? The whole point of the show was to point out that sometimes just going back to the simple basic techniques of fishing is the best move one can make. I was out at Pony Creek one evening last week. I was trying a whole array of different presentations, and the fish were having nothing to do with them.
As the evening wore on with no action, I switched to a simple 1/4 ounce jig with a Berkley Powerbait curly tail jig body attached. I dropped it into the water and within a few seconds of slow trolling I had a fish on. The fish got off at the boat on the retrieve, but I didn’t care. I threw the rig back in the water, and once again within a few seconds I had another fish on the end of the line. I had just spent an hour and a half dragging every fancy rig I had in the tackle box through the water and did not get a hit. I switched to something simple and basic, and I immediately had fish hitting the end of the line. It just figures!
Of all of the gear I have stored away in my tackle box, I still always seem to fall back on a handful of time proven baits that will consistently catch fish. It would be a lot easier if I would just stuff a handful of simple baits in my pocket and quit lugging that 50-pound tackle box around. As with everything else we do in life, we tend to make things too tough and complicated. Just head to the water with the basics, and you will be just as well off and probably put more fish in the livewell.