Feel Good About Fishing

As a youngster fishing was something that I enjoyed more than anything. It’s hard to explain why, and it doesn’t matter. I just really enjoyed fishing. But sometimes when I would listen to the adults talk about fishing, they would often refer to the “old days” of fishing, and how “fishin’ today just isn’t as good as it used to be”. I don’t remember why it wasn’t as good, but I was somewhat fearful that there might not be any fish to catch when I got older. Now that I am older, I know that fishing is very, very good in many places, and I’m optimistic that fishing will continue to be good in many places and will get even better in other places. Here’s why.

In yesteryear, pollution was an especially important reason to be concerned about fishing quality. In the 1960’s, rivers in some places actually caught on fire due to pollution and such. Rivers that are on fire usually aren’t a good place to go fishing. Today, many rivers and lakes have better water quality and more fish than they did fifty years ago.

We also know more about fish and how to catch them in today’s world. There has been so much learned and shared about where fish live during the different seasons and their changing food preferences from spring to summer to fall. We know more about fish, and we also have much better equipment to fish with.

Today’s anglers are more mobile and versatile when it comes to fishing. Back in the day, we would go walleye fishing. We’d try different baits and presentations, but we were after walleyes. Nothing else would do. If the walleyes didn’t want to get caught, we didn’t catch much. Today, if the walleyes aren’t biting on the lake that we’re on, we put the boat on the trailer and go to a different lake. Or we switch species. When the walleyes don’t want to bite, we can usually get some bass, pike, or panfish to eat our bait. The anglers who catch the most fish are the anglers who are most versatile and are willing to change presentations or species.

Fishing guide and educator Mike Frisch recently wrote an article, ‘Wonderful Walleye Times”, about his optimism relative to walleye fishing. Mike often travels to a variety of walleye waters and has been experiencing outstanding action for quality and quantity in recent years. The full write-up is at fishingthemidwest.com.

So, in many places walleye fishing is good, and in other places it’s very good. How about those bass that we sometimes or oftentimes chase? What are they doing when it comes to quality and quantity? A good indicator of that is what bass pro Jay Przekurat did in a 2022 bass tournament on Lake Ontario in New York. He weighed a five-fish limit all four days of competition. Twenty smallmouth. Total weight, a few ounces over 102 pounds! A five-pound average for smallmouth bass! That’s crazy good! And the equipment that he was using was of the highest quality, but not over-the-top expensive. Most of his fish were taken on a Half Shell plastic attached to a dropshot rig. He worked the dropshot set-up on a Lew’s Signature Series rod designed for dropshotting. He teamed it with a Custom Lite CL300 spinning reel. An outstanding rod and reel combination, but something that is within the price range of most anglers. The equipment that is available to anglers today has so much more value than the equipment that many of us grew up with.

With that, I’m looking out the window of my home at the current snowstorm. I know that it won’t be long until I’m able to go fishing again, and I also know that the chances of catching more and bigger fish are probably better than I might have imagined when I started fishing six decades ago. In many ways, we as anglers are pretty darn lucky to have the fishing opportunities that the modern world presents.

– Bob Jensen of fishingthemidwest.com.

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