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Decisions, decisions, decisions

Fishing is all about decision making. Isn’t everything? We decide to go fishing first. Then maybe pay an entry fee to fish in competition. After that are a zillion other forks in the road that lead to the result of the effort. None of the decisions are necessarily easy to make, but necessary to get to a result.

You always strive to make good decisions of course. If you put your thinking process to work alongside your intuitive ability, you get a “good” decision. It does not always lead to the result you wish for, but it is still a good decision.

I am probably guilty of trying to use intellect to make fishing decisions, more than intuition. My scientific background seems to lead me down that path. I try to make fishing logical, which it most definitely is NOT.

Those little green fish with the big old bulgy eyes have a really small brain that is incapable of logic or reasoning. They certainly do not plan to refuse to bite on Saturday just because that is the final day of the tournament. It just seems like it sometimes.

The beauty of tournament fishing is that somebody always figures out how to make some bites happen. That pretty much puts to rest any thoughts of “They just didn’t bite today”. That’s good news and bad news. Bad news if you aren’t the one who makes it happen. Good news if you are that guy. Pretty good news if you can later find out how “that guy” got it done. You put that little jewel of information in memory (or your computer) so you can remember what worked during this set of conditions in the future efforts. That’s how seasonal patterns are developed.

The tournament at The Chesapeake Bay last week was a good example. I made a decision to concentrate my efforts on a single spot. There were a couple of logical reasons for that. One, it was the only spot in which I had more than one bite in practice. Second, the bites were big.

It was a tidal current related place with a sunken wreck of some kind. Current swept across it during both tidal movements, but best during the incoming flow. It was the perfect winter to spring transition place for the conditions. It was pretty isolated too, and this gave me hope that no other competitor had found its magic.

First day, great plan. I caught my limit by 10:00 am and left the place alone hoping to conserve the school for later exploitation. That was a difficult decision to make. I struggled with it and consciously decided to go. As it turned out; bad plan. When I arrived there second day, another competitor was parked on “my” spot. OUCH! He had apparently found it too, and left me alone on it the first day until after I left. Then he caught the biggest bass weighed in during the whole event from the key spot. Again, OUCH!

No Harm, no foul, just painful. Was it a bad decision to leave? I don’t really think it was bad, just wrong. In hindsight, I obviously should have stayed and fished more, or at least guarded the spot.

You have to make a decision to stay or go many times every day in fishing. This was a particularly difficult decision with an especially difficult result, but it was still a “good” decision.

I will always wonder what might have been if I had taken the other route. I have made enough good and bad decisions in my fishing life to know that you cannot always get it right, but you can rest better that night if you believe you made a good decision based on your intellect, but also relying on your intuitive ability as well.

Still, I enjoyed my return to the Chesapeake Bay. It was especially rewarding to talk to so many fans who wished me well and many who remembered the day in August, 1991, that changed my life. It was a string of “good” decisions that got me there, and back again.


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