Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pounds and Inches

Spring is at the door, and those anglers who took a month or two sabbatical from fishing during the colder months of the year are now chomping at the bit for trophy time. This is the time of year when some of the biggest walleyes and bass are caught. That late season of ice fishing and early ice-out in the North, and migrating bass in the South all make trophies a little more attainable this time of year.

Big fish feed increasingly as the water temperatures rise a degree or two every week. Truth of the matter, they are better about adding and losing pounds and inches when they need to than we are. But that brings up a good point for discussion. Is it inches or pounds that indicates a trophy?

By my standards, it’s pounds and ounces. Inches mean nothing to me. No one cares that I’m 72 inches tall, but for some reason it seems to matter that I’m 250 pounds. Same is true for fishing in the South.

A 10-pound, 1-ounce fish is much larger than a 9-pound, 15-ounce fish. Anglers down South are sticklers about an ounce or 2. Tell your buddy you caught a 5-pounder, and when that fish only pulls the spring on the scale down to 4 pounds, 14 ounces, your buddy will immediately start ribbing you about having a case of the “big eye” (where your eyes seem to see things larger than they really are – somewhat the opposite of a rearview mirror).

However, if you told that same buddy down South you caught a 21-inch smallmouth up North, he’ll say his 20-inch smallmouth was “pretty much the same size.” I think I just heard a few Northerners groan at that remark.

Yet I can’t really tell. So if I tell someone I caught a 20-inch smallmouth, guys up North are patting me on the back. Guys down South are still wondering if that’s a big fish. Then I tell them it weighed 6 pounds and they pat me on the back too.

Fishing is the only language I’ve found that is universal and foreign at the same time. It’s all in the details. If you fish a national tournament trail, you probably speak the universally foreign language fluently. Here at FLW Outdoors, we speak it fluently as well.

Telling someone you can catch bass on lizards in the spring isn’t speaking clearly. But explaining what type of hideouts and feeding areas to seek, and describing some different ways to rig and retrieve lures to entice strikes from pressured fish is where the language becomes clearer.

The separation between great anglers and sporadically good anglers is in the details. We all want to consider ourselves great anglers. The truth is we need to pay more attention to the details to truly become great anglers.

At FLW Outdoors Magazine, we’re focusing on putting more detailed information on locations, retrieves, sizes, colors and more into every article we put in the magazine. We realize our goal is to get anglers speaking a universal language of catching fish. Fishing is fun … but catching is way more fun.

We tried to cover a lot of bases in this issue, from throwback lures, to new crazy finesse rigs, to different approaches for old standbys. If variety is the spice of life, then consider this edition the salsa of early spring fishing.

Good Fishing,

Jason Sealock

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