A Great Christmas Gift

How many times have you heard something described as the gift that keeps on giving? Well, that’s exactly what this is about. This is the gift giving season and everyone has special people on their Christmas list. The gift I’m about to describe is unique in that it would be as great for any fishermen in your life as well as a perfect gift to enjoy yourself.

I call it the gift of becoming a better angler and it has several sides to it. Let’s look first at the category of fishing tackle. Can you imagine anybody in their right mind trying to enter a John Deere tractor in the big race at Indianapolis? Of course not. So then why do so many anglers insist on handicapping themselves with cheap tackle?

A quality rod and reel, the best waders and jackets, the best lines and lures, all contribute mightily to our ability to catch fish. So, let me simply sum up gifts in this category by saying that if you want to become a better angler you need the best tackle and gear – the things that connect you to fish – should be the very best you can afford.

Next is learning to use that tackle to up your game. So many times I see anglers who cannot cast a lure accurately enough to hit the side of a barn from the inside. Do major league sluggers continue to spend time at the batting cages? Take that as a clue.

I spent a day years ago with Jay Watkins and Cliff Webb on Baffin Bay and it was a grind. Despite being in high-percentage time frame of mid-February the three of us landed one solid fish. Cliff heard a swoosh off to his left, reeled his Corky Fat Boy to the tip of his rod with blinding speed, and sailed it directly into the vanishing suds ring where a hapless mullet had just gone to Heaven. The cast produced a feisty seven-pound trout. Luck? No way.

Get out in the yard with that new rod and reel, set up some targets, and learn to cast like Cliff Webb. Do not wait until you’re on the water.

Next is fishing instruction. Many years ago I thought I wanted to become a golfer. I played one day with a man who was almost good enough to be a pro. When I asked him how I could go about improving my game he offered two suggestions; get some lessons and always try to play with golfers who are better than you.

Applying his advice to fishing, my suggestion is to find a fishing guide who, more than just helping fill an ice chest, will agree to a full day of one-on-one training, maybe several days if you can afford it. A day spent with a good teaching guide could be worth years of hard knocks, especially if you want to become proficient with lures.

I pray your holiday season will be merry and joyous. God Bless and Merry Christmas!