Early season fishing is a fun time and a good time for fishermen to evaluate how they fish. Some people consider themselves “walleye fishermen,” and others consider themselves “bass fishermen.” I know – I used to do both. Now I just call myself “a fisherman,” because I am more interested in feeling a tug on the end of my line than I am about what species of fish it is.

It is about catching what is biting.

Going out first thing in the morning, a fisherman always needs to have a plan. Maybe first thing he goes after walleye using jigs, but then after an hour with little action, he decides to switch to crankbaits. Unfortunately, the crankbaits, although a good choice, might not be putting fish in the boat either. At this point the walleye fisherman might switch baits again, maybe using live baits to try to get the walleyes to start biting.

Or he might try fishing for something else that might cooperate a little better.
Sometimes a fisherman needs to analyze his situation and think about what would put more fish in the boat. For instance, after a weather front goes through and leaves bluebird skies and lots of sun, walleyes will likely go off their bite for the rest of the day.

It would make for a more enjoyable day of fishing if, instead of walleyes, the fisherman were to target northern pike, which are likely to start biting under the same conditions. Some fish, like smallmouth bass, like bright sunshine, while crappies usually bite much better in low light conditions. It is worth trying different presentations to entice a bite. Sometimes a slow presentation is what is needed; other times a little speed is required. If neither works, it might be time to try a different species of fish.

Tournament fishermen pre-fishing a lake will spend all day trying to locate walleye or bass and getting them to bite. Other fishermen are better off thinking like “a fisherman” and fishing for what is biting, because something always is. Until next time…keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.