• Dare To Be Different

    There are a lot of anglers out on the Lake during a derby. Most of these anglers use the same half-dozen lure patterns, rig their equipment the same old way and fish at the same depth and speed.

    Lots of fish are caught during the good biting hours of first and last light with these tried and true methods but during the rest of the day, fishing can be slow.

    And then along comes someone with a new way to fish or a different style of rigging and for a little while, until the secret is out and becomes widespread, their innovation really makes a difference. Perhaps it’s a proven rig from the west coast, like cut bait, herring strips or a special lure. Perhaps it’s fluorocarbon leaders or a new dodger and fly combination, maybe a return to diving planers, side-planers, steel wire, lead core line, any number of methods that have paid off, for a while, big-time in the past. Soon, though, everyone hears about the latest hot method, bait or lure and the innovation becomes part of standard rigging. No longer unique, it becomes one of the old standards, tried and true but not really something hot that will catch fish during the slow times in the middle of the pack.

    Is there an explanation for this phenomenon? Why does something new work so well for awhile and then, almost overnight, become just another one of our many tackle standbys?

    Well, we can’t ask the fish and too few of us keep accurate statistics that might shine a light on this puzzle but guesses based on anecdotal information have helped anglers for many years. For example, it’s an accepted fact that matching the hatch or simulating a prey species will entice feeding fish to bite. The key words here however are “feeding fish”.

    What if they’re not feeding? Either because they aren’t hungry or like with mature Pacific salmon, past the feeding stage of their lives? Will they still bite? Hundreds of derby prizes have been won by anglers who caught non-feeding fish. This is where the guesses come in. Did these derby prize-winners bite because they were angry, protective of their territory or simply aggressive? Perhaps, if their BB sized brains are capable of it, they bite because of curiosity… no one knows for sure. Perhaps they saw something they had never seen before and just had to give it a little taste. Most experienced anglers will agree that they never know what is suddenly going to produce fish when the bite is off. Sometimes the weirdest thing becomes the hot rig of the day. Think about it. Do you have something in your tackle box that is out of the ordinary? This year, give that weird rig a try or just change your methods when fishing is slow. Perhaps you could try fishing in comparatively shallow water, off temperature with long leads while everyone else fishes according to the rules. Who knows? Unusual methods have worked before. You just might intercept a derby prize-winning fish with an attitude and take home a big prize …….just because you dared to be different.

    Grant Ferris
    Grey/Bruce Outdoors