ICAST Assessments - Seven Common Mistakes of Lure Evaluation
With ICAST starting soon, and anglers about to be overwhelmed with new lures, I thought it would be a good time to review lure choices. Have you ever noticed that a particular lure may be one angler?s "go to" bait and he will swear by it, while another angler refuses to use the same lure saying that it will not catch anything? Many of us pass a lure up on a store shelf because we are not sure if it will produce fish, when in fact it could be a guarded secret to another angler. Often the success or failure of a lure may not be in the lure but in the approach or presentation that the angler offers it to the fish. According to fishing legend, Bill Dance, ?If a bait is worth tying on, it should be given a chance to produce.? In this re-write of one of my older post, let us take the time once again to look at the theory behind this quote as we discover seven of the common mistakes of lure assessment. These tips will try to help you gain confidence in every new lure that you invest your time and money in.Nothing says that an angler lacks confidence more than changing lures often. This displays a lack of confidence not only in the lure, but also in the angler?s knowledge and a lack of confidence in his or her self. Often being asked to review products for bait companies, this was the first lesson I had to learn. Knowing that a bad review of a good bait could be detrimental to the success and to the dreams of a fellow angler trying to make his way in this fantastic industry. Put aside for now standard lure selection techniques of size, weight and color and reflect on why one lure will produce for one angler and why it will not for another. It is with this approach that you must acclimate yourself to the investment of a new lure.
Trials of a new lure or a product test require a systematic approach based on trial and error, this lesson was not easily learned. As a manager for a large corporation, I learned to use tools such as ?Six Sigma? to solve problems and to analyze data. These approaches give a standard to industry to find a root cause of error. And it was training in this that has helped me to analyze my fishing. I found that I was making some errors each time I tried new baits and these mistakes are worth sharing.The first common mistake of lure assessment and trial is the lack of logical approach. For a lure to be effective it must be fished effectively. For instance, the shallower a fish is holding, the more critical the approach should be. A fish that feels in danger is much more difficult to catch. Approach the first cast based on the conditions of water temperature, clarity, wind and depth. A top water lure field test in water that is forty-degrees may not produce a single bite. Does this make it a bad lure? It most certainly does not.The second common mistake of lure assessment is to ignore depth. The depth at which fish are holding is the depth at which lures should be tested. The topic of depth coincides with approach, but gaining an understanding of this will make a lure productive. Crankbaits, as an example, are designed to perform at specific depths, if the fish are holding at eight feet and the lure is diving to sixteen, you may catch an occasional fish, but how much more effective would that lure be if the fish were holding at sixteen feet?
The third common mistake of lure assessment is the presentation. The presentation or retrieve of a lure should be an established pattern of rhythm. Presentations that naturally mimic either forage or enemies that will entice a fish to either feed or attack with a reaction strike. This holds true more for larger experienced bass that will often investigate or follow a lure before striking. A presentation with a natural erratic action of flight or maneuver signals to the bass that this is food fleeing from danger. While other baits that suddenly stop appear to square off with a pursuing bass, which results in a reaction of dominance with the big fish eliminating the threat. When fishing imitation crawfish or minnow lures, make it look real.The forth common mistake of lure assessment is the lack of experimentation. A successful angler must realize that conditions change continually in the underwater environment. Anglers must experiment to catch fish. Many do this without realizing that they are. Trial and error and asking "why" with each bite or when skunked will give the best answers. The fish will tell you what they want, but the angler must offer it to them first.
The fifth common mistake of lure assessment is the lack of concentration. A successful angler must get in the ?zone? paying attention to what the lure is doing at all times. When a strike comes, it is much more important than when they are not biting. How many times have you caught a fish when talking or doing something that is distracting you from your presentation? This is a lost opportunity for a piece of the puzzle needed to repeat the success of a presentation. Concentration as to what the lure is doing, and knowing what is going on below, combined with the knowledge of how fish react, makes a lure successful.The sixth common mistake of lure assessment is the inability or reluctance to learn. Anglers must take the time to learn everything they can about the fish that they are fishing for. Learning is much more than reading a book, magazine or watching a television show. Often these are market tools to sell us lures. An angler learns from experience. There is no better teacher than experience. Make it a point to learn something every time you are on the water. Fish with others often and learn from them, even if you only learn mistakes or what does not work, you are still learning something. This is what often frustrates anglers into giving up fishing all together. Day after day of not catching fish gets boring and humiliating. But those anglers that take the time to understand why they didn?t catch fish, learn valuable lessons that make them better anglers. Discipline is vital to learning.
And lastly, the seventh common mistake of lure assessment is the lack of confidence in one?s self. Confidence is the most valuable thing to take fishing. Nothing in your tackle box is worth more to your fishing than confidence. An angler cannot be given confidence by another angler and he cannot buy confidence at Bass Pro Shops. It is only gained through an understanding of the fish, their environment and what they eat. Learning comes from experimentation and experience. Some anglers have confidence in one particular lure, only because they have mastered the use of it in certain conditions that have produced fish. They must understand that the same confidence can be gained for many types of lures and baits through approach, depth, presentation, experimentation, concentration, and learning.It is my hope that these points help you to gain confidence when trying a new lure for the first time. With the holiday season upon us, passionate anglers may receive lures that they would never buy for themselves. By avoiding these seven deadly sins, perhaps you can find a new "go to" bait to suit the condition you are fishing it in. Whether you are trying to decide to invest in a new lure, of if you have been ask to do a product test, remember if it is worth tying on, it is worth giving it a chance.Happy Fishing!Booyah Pad Crasher//www.booyahbaits.com/