June 10, 2014 Share

Fishing Isn’t Luck (Dare You to Disagree)

Early on in my stint as editor of North American Fisherman magazine I had a meeting with five of the top tournament walleye anglers in the country at the time (some still are). My goal was to work with these anglers to generate editorial ideas, but I left the meeting with much more than just article ideas…I came away with a much deeper appreciation for what it takes to succeed as a tournament angler. All five of the anglers I met were highly successful in both their fishing and professional lives. One was a dentist, another was a computer programmer, and the three others were business owners. It was clear that their success fishing isn’t luck.

So why did they fish tournaments? Because they enjoyed fishing more when the stakes were high…and when you are consistently successful luck plays very little into the equation.

Even though that meeting took place many moons ago, it has stuck with me for reasons I never quite understood until recently while we were working with Ron and Al Lindner on a new series for North American Fisherman magazine. In a nutshell, the series takes a fresh look at the Lindner’s revolutionary but dated F (Fish) + L (Location) + P (Presentation) = Success formula, and brings the concept into the 21 century.

The first article in the series appears in the February 2012 issue of North American Fisherman and will continue as long as it needs to fully flesh out the new system which we’re calling the “Fish Response System.”

The Lindners were the first explain the thought-process behind making solid fishing decisions. The best anglers are part biologist, part zoologist, part psychologist, part athlete, and just plain great at connecting seemingly “unconnectable” dots. Seasonality, water type, weather, species behaviors, fishing pressure and a whole lot of other things come together for fish to be found in a certain area at a certain day or time, and even then, you run into fish that simply won’t bite, which means your search must begin all over again.

For more than 40 years, the Lindner’s system helped anglers understand the key elements of the decision process, but what it doesn’t factor in was the many changes that have taken place in the last four decades. The biggest changes are catch-and-release (and its role in educating fish), invasive species (which are not only changing waterways forever, but also feeding habits for many gamefish like smallmouth bass), and technologically advancements like GPS/Mapping, side-scan sonar and more. When the Lindners unveiled F+L+P=Success, the Lowrance Green Box was still viewed as revolutionary for anglers who until then used a lead weight and string to locate off-shore structure.

There are times when luck plays a role in fishing, but it has nothing really to do with consistently finding fish under ever-changing conditions and making them bite. This is a skill that once learned will serve you the rest of your life.




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