My Least Favorite Fishing Question: “Are They Biting?”
Perhaps I’m an odd duck, but when I travel to fish I don’t often ask the guide or whoever I’m...
Perhaps I’m an odd duck, but when I travel to fish I don’t often ask the guide or whoever I’m fishing with how the bite’s been. Or if I do, I very rarely let the answer alter my plans. If you have a Facebook account, log on right now. I bet you’ll find loads of up-to-the-minute fishing reports in your news feed. Anglers have become so glued to reports thanks to the Net, so reliant on them in terms of deciding to fish or not fish, that it drives me mad. I always laugh when I ask someone to go fishing and they’re first question is “what are the reports?” or “have they been getting them?” My answer is always, “does it matter?”
The best advice I was ever given by a guide came from my good friend Josh Stevenson in Minnesota. The first time we met, we had a precious 3 hours to muskie fish in the most miserable cold front conditions ever. Long story short, despite my severe lack of hope, we caught 2 big muskies and lost a third in 30 minutes. Nobody else was fishing. Josh said, “you know, if you’ve got time to fish, just go fish. Don’t worry about conditions or reports or barometric pressure or anything. Just go, because if you don’t it’s a 100% guarantee you’re not going to catch anything.” It feeds right into the old adage that if you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll never go fishing. On that note, while I can’t speak for everyone, I would also certainly rather fish and catch nothing than mow the lawn, go to Home Depot, wash my truck, or do any of the other things I often do on non-fishing days.
Now don’t misunderstand, reports are fine to gauge general goings-on, but the bottom line is no matter how good or bad they did today, tomorrow is not today. If I had a nickel for every time I got excited over a hatch or reports of epic striper blitzes only to go the following day and catch nothing, I’d have a bigger boat and a streamside cabin by now. At the same time, I’d be just as rich collecting nickels for outings where everything was completely wrong, nobody had been catching fish for weeks, and we just crushed it. Today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. Have a great weekend and just go fishing.