By Ron Brooks
On a day that looks to be absolutely perfect, I sometime have a hard time making up my mind up about where to fish. I plan my trip ahead of time, but deciding where becomes an issue sometimes.
The fish are moving up to the flats in the early morning at location “x”, but they are already there on the flats at location “y”. I fret and think. I check my logs. I look at the wind direction again. I think some more.
And last night it occurred to me – what a problem to have!! I’m on fish in two locations and fussing about which one to fish! I have to pinch myself! How many times in the past have I sat and tried to put a plan together when I was not on a lot of fish. I could fish here, but I did not find fish there two days ago. Or, I could fish there, but the reports I get from my fishing buddies tell me the fish are not there either.
So I make my decision and head out the next morning. I launch, meet my fishing party, and head out for a day of fishing.
First stop is a deep hole in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We fish some live shrimp on jigs through this hole and come up with a couple of keeper redfish and two that were oversize at around 29 inches. And even though we are catching fish, my mind wanders to the other place – location “y”, that I had considered fishing. Would we have been catching fish there as well?
I move to my next stop, a creek mouth that had been holding some flounder. The same rigs and the same bait combination brought two keeper flounder to the box. The plan is working and I’m working my plan! And, still my mind wanders to location “y”.
I can’t stand it any longer – I have to know. So, while everyone is fishing and catching, I call one of my friends, George. I generally know where my fishing friends will be fishing on a given day and a given tide, and I figured a couple of them would be fishing somewhere around location “y”.
George has a party of newcomers to fishing in his boat; he tells me he has his hands full and does not want to talk. Imagine that! But he does tell me he is on fish – just not at my location “y”.
I continue to call people. I simply must know – I have to find out what would have happened had I chosen the other place to fish!
Three phone calls later I reach Tony, who is sitting right about where I would have been had I chosen to fish there instead of here! He tells me he’s on a few fish, but nothing outstanding. Finally an answer!
But, the answer he gave me did not satisfy me – it only made my mind reel (no pun intended) even more. “A few fish, but nothing outstanding” – that comment had me wondering.
I know Tony is a good fisherman, even a great fisherman. But like most of you, I think I’m better! So now I wonder – would I be catching more than him were I there? I did not ask what he was using for bait – that’s sort of a common courtesy for me. Maybe he was not fishing with the right bait!
I have friends who tell me I should not have ulcers and lose sleep - because I fish all the time! On the water; no worries; just relaxing with the fish! Oh, how I wish that were the case. But my nature is always to wonder – what would it be like if I had gone the other way! And that in no small part goes for everything in my life – not just fishing.