Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fishing in Lake Michigan (A Parable from my Dad)

Written to me as an email on October 20, 2007
Locating Fish: If you are looking for a certain type of fish you have to know what they eat, where they are likely to congregate, who they school with, etc. Some fisher-men and women use lures, others live bait and some are oriented to fly fishing. Some fish in rivers, some lakes some in salt water. Ultimately you have to match the fishing with the type of fish you want to catch.

Knowing what kind of fish are you looking for will help determine bait, fishing conditions and most importantly, location. Some, like catfish, just lay on the bottom and eat what others discard. Any kind of bait will work. Others like trout are very wily and will fight any kind of hook. Trout are pretty and taste great but catching them requires a lot of subtlety. Fishing for trout can mean long days with no bites.

Are they feeding? Not all fish are looking for the same bait. If a bait or lure doesn’t work, then try something new. Sometimes they have to see other fish feeding to get them to go after the bait. Also, sometimes the “whether” conditions affect the fishing regardless of bait and location.

Finding a keeper: Not all fish you catch are worth keeping, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Even what appear to be keepers could have been damaged from previous fishing experiences or even spoiled in their early "schooling". Also some of the best keepers aren’t the prettiest fish. Haddock are downright ugly, but they're big and strong and taste great.

Understand the fish: You have to think like a fish in order catch the one you want. They are simple but very slippery. You have to be subtle. Just wiggling some bait in front of them won’t make them take the hook, even when they take a bite.

Setting the hook: Sometimes you have to let the fish run with the bait before you can set a hook. But before you run out of line, or patience, you have to begin reeling in the fish in order to know whether it’s hooked.

Sometimes the fish just aren’t biting. Other times, when you least expect it, a fish will just jump in the boat.

Great fishermen and women are persistent, have faith in themselves and, most of all, enjoy the scenery whether the fish are biting or not.

Love and good fishing,

Dad

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