Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fish in the NOW by Jason Houchins




Fish in the NOW
Its overcast and the temperatures are falling along with the water. Water levels were a foot higher, fish were on beds, and I am totally confused. Last week has become a distant memory, it’s totally opposite from the last time I made a cast. I guess I will have to fish in the now, make all our decisions based on what the current conditions are.
What does that mean, fish in the now? Well here the “now” can change every hour and what worked this morning seems to fizzle in the afternoon. Or it could mean that I fish the same stretch of bank over and over again and expect different results. This one has also happened to me, I always catch them here this time of year so this is where I go. Kerr Lake has made me a much better fisherman over the years and has taught me to fish in the “now” more than any other body of water. I hope I can explain some things about this concept that will help you no matter where you call your home lake.
After a recent tournament I had someone call me and let me know that they knew where the winning bag came from and what they were using. I told them that if they wanted to help, let me know where the winning bag will be caught this weekend and what we need to throw. It’s hard to resist to take that kind of information, but really what good can it do? I’m not saying you shouldn’t get information, which would be stupid in this day and age. But I do think you need to take what you get and form your own opinion about it and see how it fits with what you were doing at that time. Then maybe it can be useful at some point, maybe this week, maybe next year. But only time will tell when and if it’s usable.
For the most part I really do fish for what the current conditions call for on a given day or days. I’m not saying I have no clue what I’m going to do when I start, I’m only saying I will change to fit conditions for that day. I pretty much have a basic plan of what I will do and that’s what I believe is the best for the overall day, but I will change somewhat to suit the conditions. For example, I’ve been killing them on a shallow crank the last couple times out, so that’s what I hope to do. Although the wind is going to pick up with some overcast later on, I bet I will have a spinnerbait close by to. It’s not always this drastic change from black to white, it can be very subtle yet pay big dividends.
I look back to a BFL I won here on Kerr in 2007 where I was catching fish real good on shad raps. I was catching 3 lbers, the kind of fish that can keep you in a tournament. On tournament day the wind was supposed to pick up a bunch and temperatures were really going to rise fast. Knowing that the shad rap was lite and already hard to cast, I knew I was going to have to do something different. Banking on the wind and the warmer air making the fish more active, I switched to a rattle bait. Once the wind got greater a switched to a spinnerbait and a speed trap crankbait, making 2 key culls late in the day. Without those key changes during the day I may have went home empty handed. So willing to adjust during the day is huge, as conditions change you need to adjust.
It’s so easy to tell you about the times when things work out, there are plenty of times when they don’t. This is all a part of the learning experience of fishing, trying to fit each piece of the puzzle. I hope the next time you head out you will look at the current conditions closer and consider all factors before you start the day. This can help you make better decisions on the water as the day unfolds. Who knows maybe you can master fishing in the Now.

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