Fishful Thinking


With the weather acting schizophrenically, I’ve used the cold days to do a lot of reorganizing, rigging and prep for the upcoming tournament season. I’ll only fish a handful of events but I want to at least make it worth the time and effort. Trying to figure out, by reading maps, old notes and revisiting way points has me trying to “guess” where the fish will be.

It actually reminds me of a book I enjoy reading every couple of years, Think Like a Fish: The Lure and Lore of America’s Legendary Bass Fisherman by Tom Mann and Tom Carter. In it Mann talks about war, sports and fishing. This is at least two of the three if not all three, symbolically of course.

“In war, men are taught to think like their enemy. In sport, contestants should think like their opponents. Fishing is the only sport where the opponent, or prey, is usually invisible. If you can’t think like him, you won’t outsmart him. If you catch him without thinking, you’re not skilled, you’re simply lucky. Luck isn’t as much fun, or as fulfilling, as strategy-born thinking.”

I’ll have my work cut out for me but it is all a part of it. I am trying to think like a fish.

If conditions are X, where would I be, what would I be looking for? Am I lethargic or am I feeding up? Am I looking for a bed or am I just storing up after the winter?

The voices of fish that have no voice or inner thought are filling my dreams both day and night. It is setting up to be a maddening couple of weeks. I have reorganized my tackle twice, respooled all of my reels, selected the six rods I’ll take, the baits they will fling and even what accessories I’ll be taking along.

Tournament fishing to me is like a fine scotch. Taken in small doses it is able to be enjoyed and my presence to others is, I would like to think, equally enjoyable. Largely consumed, no one wants to be near me or my warped verbal ramblings.

I will do my best to remain refined over the season. If you see me talking to my self and flailing wildly in the air however, best to just leave me be. It’ll go away sometime.

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About Chris Payne

A lifelong Texan, Chris Payne has been an outdoor enthusiast his entire life and has spent the last 15 years fishing mainly from a kayak. He is known for his thorough and helpful reviews as well as how to articles for nearly everything kayak fishing related. If you have questions or comments, you can leave them on this post or email Chris at: paynefish@gmail.com

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