According to Scott: June 2007

According to Scott: June 2007

Over the years, I have spent many days on my poling platform scanning the water and the horizon, wondering- what were the barrier islands like so many years ago when, even before the European explorers stepped foot on our Texas beaches, the Karankawa Indians hunted and fished in our bays. More often than not my thoughts turn to- if I was one of the members of the now extinct and forgotten cultures living today, what would I think of what has become of my hallowed hunting grounds? Chances are I would just laugh knowing that I will be asleep in my wigwam while the guy who I saw earlier that day slinging a fifty foot rooster-tail of mud and grass behind his boat was stuck out in the bay because the batteries went dead on his GPS. In all reality, I would probably just hang my head in despair.

The simple fact is that we as anglers are a pathetic, lazy bunch. Unlike the Karankawas who built and powered their own boats by hand and navigated by following the tide, we head across the bay in our fiberglass motorized boats using detailed charts and hi-tech GPS and sonar to find places to fish. I mean think about it- in today's world, it requires very little knowledge to navigate from spot to spot or even catch fish upon arriving at one of those spots. Don't know where the fish are? No big deal, just log onto the internet and some big mouth is ready to reveal or, in some cases, mislead you to latest spot that the fish are biting in. Did not find the information that you were after there? Try the newspaper where some idiot guide is reporting that you should run a boat around the marsh and lakes until you spook a bunch of fish then jump out and wade until you catch one.

Okay, I know there is a big difference between now and then. The biggest, most obvious, difference is that the Indians had to be successful because their lives depended on it. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot something- their family's lives depended on their success. They either picked a good spot to fish or hunt or did not eat that day. If we picked a bad spot today- no big deal, right? Heck we are out on the bay to get away from the city and enjoy the peace and quiet, besides we will not starve, we have H.E.B. or Chili's to fall back on. Nope, not the case at all- pick a bad spot, jump up on the console of the boat and run circles until the fish are so spooked that they reveal themselves.

You would think more of us would be interested in putting our knowledge and skills to the test, to see if we were truly worthy of capturing one of God's creatures. Last time I checked, that is what being a sportsman was all about. Instead, we constantly place mechanical and technological advantage over knowledge and ability. Why? Because there are so many anglers out there who are so caught up in the rat race they cannot relax enough to enjoy what is there without catching fish. So what do they do- they jump in the boat and run to the next spot and then to the next one. And, come the weekend, you have hundreds of boats running to the next spot and the fish rarely have the chance to settle down.

Okay, I am guessing you are ready for me to move on, but before I do. . . . For those of you who did not catch it- I said 'we' meaning, despite my shoulders telling me that I have poled my skiff further than I ever dreamed about running a motor, the 1300 hours on the last little Mercury outboard that I retired tells me differently. And, I do not know if any of you have ever compared a 21' Graphite Stiffy push-pole to a 16' piece of bamboo stout enough to push a boat. . . . Well I have and, I promise you, I will take the 3 lbs Stiffy over the 15 lbs bamboo any day of the week and twice on Sunday. . In other words- I am just as guilty of embracing technology as the next guy. The difference is; I do not rely on it. I will always place knowledge over technology.

This philosophy has served me well over the years. I do not have to run around until I spook fish to find them because I know where to look based on knowledge. This knowledge that I speak of does not come from yesterday or even last week- it comes from years of observing and collecting information from not only the spots that I have caught fish, but also from the spots that I did not.

And, over the years, I can assure you that two facets of fishing have not changed. The first being- history repeats itself. What I mean by this is- if you found trout on a drop-off in a certain location last year on a certain date, chances are very good that you will find fish in that same location (barring any major meterological differences) the following year give or take a week. In my experience, this has been true four out of every five years. Those are some pretty good odds if you ask me. The second thing that has not changed is that boat traffic in shallow water spooks fish. In some cases the fish will remain in the area and sulk until the next feeding cycle and in other cases, they will just outright leave and not come back.

Whenever I choose a spot to fish I already have two pieces of information at hand. I know what the history of the spot is and I know, because I took the time to learn it, what the bottom contour and makeup is. The next two things I take into account are water level and temp. When combined, these are the four pieces of information I use to find fish every day. Of course each day is different and the pieces of the puzzle fit together a little differently. As for how they fit together, well that is something that I encourage you all to do.

Anyway, the point that I am trying to make is- you will not starve if you do not catch a fish so slow down. You might be surprised at what you will learn when you do.