Time on the Water

Time on the Water


It’s one thing to think you know how to fish in a certain condition; it’s another thing to go out and do it.  The last weekend in April is a holiday to me.  Michigan opens its bass season, or should I say the catch and release season.  It’s the first time in 4 months anglers can chase bass.


This year Michigan had a harsh winter, one that has not been seen in years.  I remember ones similar to it as a kid they were not nearly as bad as this one.  This spring has been cold which has just been a follow up to weeks of below freezing temps during the winter.


I bring this up because over the last five years or more on opening day the water temp has been 60 or above, last year at this time the bass were in post spawn already.  I thought I understood how to fish for cold water bass.  I was greeted instead with a realization that I don’t know as much as I thought.


In the digital age we live it easy to watch a video, or read an article on a site like this and think you understand how to fish cold water or bass just moving up.  In truth there is nothing that can beat time on the water in those conditions.


I can say it “I don’t know how to fish cold water like I should or thought I did.”  In Michigan I have not been able to fish these conditions, and when I have gone south during pre-spawn the bass are moved up the water temp is hovering near 60 and they are close to spawning.


Yes I believe you can learn from reading and watching videos, I read more about bass fishing then most guys I am sure.  The problem becomes can you take what you have read and make it work on the water?  Can you adjust to the conditions or the bass?  When the bite dies do you know what to do then?  Can you make the adjustments need?


This is why I think time on the water cannot be over looked.  Anglers become better anglers by doing, learning from time spent on the water.  I equate it to something a professor in college told me.  He basically said you can learn everything in the books we have you read but the real world does not always play out like in the text books.


Don’t get over confident, instead put your time in, log things in your mind that work and learn every time you are out.  I learned that I need more cold water experience this year.  I need to spend more time on the lake over the next few weeks well the water is in the low 40’s and slowly climbs higher into the 50’s and then 60’s.


Don’t be afraid to admit you have a weakness that needs to be worked on.  Instead embrace what you don’t know or what you need to work on.  Use that weakness to become a better angler.  Keep reading; keep watching videos but remember that there is no substitute for time logged on the water.  Those who are smarter then I say it takes 10,000 hours of physically doing something to master it.  Think about that, think about all of the different ways we can catch bass and all the different situations we can face.  If you have to put in 10,000 hours for a jerkbait, crankbait or any technique to master it time on the water is the only cure.