The Decision To Fight Or Run Can Make Or Break Your Day News, Sports, Jobs

Seemingly automatic decisions, which we make with barely a moment invested in thinking, can be crucial to the results of our days on the water.

Should I turn left or right when moving away from the platform? Should I tie a chartreuse crankbait to my line or go with a red one? Spinner or template? Shallow or deep? Crappies or golden? Nightcrawler or minnow?

Our options include so many variables that they are enough to turn any angler’s head. But with a little intuition and a little knowledge, the chances of making the right choice increase exponentially.

Perhaps the most important decision on a day of fishing is to stay or go. If the score remains zero after an hour in one place, do you remove the plug and go to another water? Or do you refine your tactics and adjust it?

It is a decision as old as the fishery itself.

We are faced with the choice of staying or leaving almost every time we go to the lake. Looking back on some of my most memorable fishing days, I admit that I changed my fortunes because I decided to either keep hammering the same area or change the water.

Conversely, looking back on some of my most forgettable fishing days, I can see that at the critical moment of the day, the moment I faced the decisive moment, I didn’t make the right choice.

The challenge for anglers is that there is no classic answer to the grind or gallop question. Plus, your decision to stay might pay off, while others on the same lake on the same day might win big jackpots because they stepped back and moved on.

For me, choosing between staying or going comes down to what my head and my heart tell me.

I recently ran into this same question on one of my favorite lakes, Milton. It was a gloomy and windy day when I launched the Bass Cat, and my first decision was whether I should work the main points and lake structure for smallmouth bass or do the long slow-motion of the river for the large mouths in the cattail points near the Ellsworth Road Bridge.

The little ones tempted me, so I zoomed in on one of my favorite stretches of rocky shoreline and immediately hooked up and lost a two-pound gyrus. In the first hour I sailed several short fish and a long thin keeper.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t force-feed the smallmouth bass I know living along this shore. The leaden gray sky was not ideal for the little ones, who are known to increase their activities on clear, sunny days.

With half of my fishing day already behind me, my options were to stay on the main lake and hike the high percentage areas or pull the electric motor and go south into the river.

I decided to give up my smallmouth ambitions and set up my rocking rods to throw soft plastic beaver tail baits into the dark holes in the cattail walls where the largemouth bass like to hide. .

My decision paid off. I pulled out several big basses and ended my day feeling satisfied that I had done the right thing when the turning point came. I weighed the merits of staying on small water in rough conditions or changing gears and fishing for bass that might not be turned off in cloudy weather.

The next time you go fishing, you will face similar decisions. Think about your options. Choose wisely and the fish will tell you if you did the right thing.

Jack Wollitz’s new book, The Common Angler: A Celebration of Fishing, was released on May 11. He loves emails from readers. Send a note to [email protected]

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