You Need To Learn To Use Your Tools
By Stan Fagerstrom
The greens on the golf course were really hard.
Charlieís approach shot was a dandy but it didnít stay where it landed. It was late summer and the sun had been baking the course for weeks.
Periodic watering had helped temporarily but it didnít last. You might hit the green with a dandy approach shot as Charlie had, but often the ball simply bounced back up and then rolled off the edge into a sand trap.
Thatís what Charlieís ball had done. Poor Charlie was up the creek. He knew what the pros did when they had to blast a shot up out of sand trap, but that was no help. Charlie, you see, didnít have any clubs designed for that purpose.
The course he was playing didnít have many sand traps and Charlie figured he could get along just fine without those particular tools.
Can you imagine a skilled golfer having anything resembling that kind of attitude? Of course not! The golfer who doesnít get on the course with a full set of clubs wonít wind up within spitting distance of playing par.
Chances are that same golfer who does have a full set of the tools designed to let him solve the problems he faces practices with them every chance he gets. Heíll refine his putting on the practice greens set aside for that purpose. Heíll hit the driving range to polish the swing he uses to knock his ball far down the fairway.
Youíll find participants in most kinds of personal recreational activity taking a similar approach. We practice for everything from playing tennis to pitching horseshoes. But there is an exception.
That exception, of course, is fishing. Thatís why I made some of the comments I did in my previous column. If you read it you know itís my contention that anglers need to learn how to use all the tools that are available to them.
Thatís why it borders on the ridiculous when I hear about the not uncommon angler who refuses to have anything to do, for example, with a level wind reel.
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A spinning rod and light line were the proper tools for me to take this nice fish where the water was free of snags.
You and I love to fish. Think about it and youíll realize we really arenít all that much different than a golfer in many respects. The golferís problems are constantly changing as he moves from hole to hole. Before he whacks his ball each time he looks things over to determine which one of his bag full of tools (clubs) will best solve the problem he faces.
Again, you and I do much the same thing. Letís suppose weíve just covered a 200 yard stretch of bank on our favorite lake. Weíve been using a level wind reel and two or three different crankbaits. We havenít had a bump.
We know darn well those bass are there this time of year. We decide to try the same stretch of water but this time weíll take a different approach.
Weíll use different tools. When we get to where we want to start we set the bait casting outfit aside and pick up a spinning rod.
Instead of the crankbaits we had been throwing, weíre now equipped with a 4-inch worm at the end of our 8-pound spinning line. Weíve got the worm rigged for dropshot fishing.
The first cast brings a pickup. Weíre a tad late and the worm is dropped before we make connections. Three casts later thereís a bump and this time we make weíre ready---fish on!
Before we leave the same stretch we had covered minutes before with a crankbait, we put three fish in the boat. One of them tops 4-pounds.
Iíve been involved in scenarios like this countless times. Chances are you have too. Next time the fish might respond to a crankbait or a weedless lure better than they do to a dropshot approach. In the event that happens, your casting rod, a level wind reel and a stout line are likely to be the best tools to get the job done.
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My spinning outfit didn't provide the tools I wanted when fishing heavy pad cover like this. My casting rod along with a level wind reel and strong line let me get the job done.
If you donít have the baitcasting rig, or if you do but havenít practiced enough to really know how to use it, youíre just like that duffer who didnít have the right club to get out of the sand trap.
Thatís about the size of it. Those blasted fish often are tough enough to catch all by themselves without you making it easier for them. And thatís exactly what youíre doing if you donít develop the ability to handle all the fish-catching tools available to you.
Do so and youíll wind up catching more fish and have more fun in the process.