Failing to prepare amounts to preparing to fail

2013-03-16 00:00

WHEN it comes to landing that big one, we all tend to focus on our prowess as anglers.

While it is important to have the right skill set when it comes to hooking, fighting and finally landing a fish, it is essential that we don’t let our equipment let us down.

Fishermen are rough and ready by nature, but taking a slightly more planned approach can save you vital time on the water. There is nothing worse than snapping up on the fish that could have won you a tournament. The best fisherman on the day may not be the most adept angler. Rather, he may be the angler who was the most prepared.

Anglers are renowned for their tall tales of the one that got away, but could-haves don’t bring home trophies, would-haves don’t fatten our bank balances with their oversized cheques and should-haves are only testament to the fact that you didn’t prep properly.

All of us have been let down, or at some stage will be, by poorly maintained tackle. It is easy to leave your tackle bag in the hatch when your boat isn’t on the water. Fishing shops aren’t there only to feed your fantasies of owning that new Shimano. They are also there to provide us with the fishing hooks and line that are the bread and butter of fishing. Having fresh line and a sharpened hook on your rod is tantamount to success. So when you enter the fishing store, be sure not to get distracted by the fancy rods and reels that are to be found behind the highly polished display cases at the front of the shop.

Going tackle shopping is much like going grocery shopping. You need to be prepared. Go through your garage and determine what you need. Drawing up a list of what you need before hitting your local store will not only ensure that you are better prepared for your next day on the dam, it’s also likely to keep you in your wife’s good books. In a woman’s mind, the bigger the bag, the more expensive the goods. Just because you know that isn’t true doesn’t mean your wife has to.

Preparation goes beyond making sure that you have the right tools. An experienced angler will tell you that setting your rods up the night before you head out onto the dam can mean the difference between being ready when opportunity comes smashing and whistling remorsefully empty-handed as a big one breaks the surface chasing after fry.

Careful planning and consideration should go into not only what you will be fishing with, but also how you will fish. If you are fishing from a boat, make sure that you pack it in such a way that all of the things that you will be using frequently are easily accessible. You don’t want to be digging your landing net out from under your lunch box when you have a fish at the end of your line. Think about how you fish and pack your boat accordingly.

Similarly, if you are going wading, make sure that you carry all of the tackle that you may need. If you’re too proud for a fanny pouch, then throw a few extra lures in your pocket, or if you don’t have a pocket, hooking a few flies onto your wide-brimmed hat is always an option.

Failing to prepare is tantamount to preparing to fail.

So take a few pointers from seven-year-old Josh O’Conner, who obviously came prepared to last weekend’s barbel competition held at Albert Falls, landing the second biggest fish of the day and proving that size doesn’t always count.

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