The Tacklebox of Success
After you have been fishing for a little while you start to accumulate tackle. Lures, hooks, line, liters, swivels, jigs, weights all start to add up and you have to have a place to keep them. Someone came up with a very clever way of doing this years ago and they called it a tackle box.
Tackle boxes have trays and slots in them to hold all those things you need for fishing. How you sort everything in it is kind of up to you, but my way is built for success. My tackle box is a blueprint for success or as close as I can get it. It’s still fishing and not catching. There’s a little leeway in the order of it but usually it’s like this:
- Top Tier - What works Most of the Time
- 2ND Tier - Works for Specific Situations
- Bottom Tier - Looked Like a good idea but didn’t live up to it
One day your tackle box will have everything in it you could possibly imagine that you would ever need, and you will still have days that none of it works. I like to think that these days are God's ways of telling me to just enjoy where I am. Most of those days I do enjoy it. I still have THOSE days but that's usually my fault and not my tackle boxes. I’m still learning but I do have a nice tackle box.
The Ones that Always work
I have in my tackle box the ones I always start with. The ones that always work, or at least usually work. It’s still fishing, not catching. These are my top shelf baits.
No matter what time of year or what conditions the one thing I always start with is a Chartreuse Jig. It is my GO-TO!
On a cold winter day what do I start with: The Chartreuse Jig. Hot summer morning. The Chartreuse Jig. All other conditions. The Chartreuse Jig.
I know what you're thinking: It only works because you use it on all those times.
I only use it because it worked on all those times. I have caught fish with my reliable Chartreuse Jig on all occasions. That’s why it is always the one I start with.
I have them in all shapes and sizes for salt and freshwater. If it comes in Chartreuse, I probably have it in plastic and a lot of other things too. The top shelf of my tackle box is nothing but a bright display of all things Chartreuse.
I have no idea what color that looks like to a fish and I have never caught anything that is Chartreuse. There are no chartreuse bait fish that I know of, but I know they work and that’s why they are my top shelf in my tackle box of success. On the rare occasion they don’t get any strikes I move on to the second tier.
The ones that Won Sometimes
In my Tackle Box I have lures that do their job perfectly. . . Sometimes. They don’t work great all the time. They have specific jobs or times that I use them. During those times There is nothing else I would throw.
Like in the fall I love throwing a crankbait. I don’t know if it’s the sound, or vibrations, or the shine but something about it makes fish NAIL IT!
I know it is supposed to look like an injured baitfish and I guess it does because when fish hit it, they do not hold back. I love those strikes. The ones you don’t even have to set a hook on just hold on and wait for the drag to stop screaming and start reeling.
Maybe the fish are fattening up for the winter. I don’t always need to know why something works.
In the spring I love spoons. Nothing fancy, just a silver spoon. Cast and crank. Fishing is the easiest, but it works.
For the winter months I like good old-fashioned jigs or worms. Moving slowly across the bottom or occasionally on the fall it will get picked up and slowly taken away. When the waters are colder, fish don’t move as quickly. A fast-moving crank bait or spoon usually goes right by them without getting hit. I’m not just presenting a bait to a fish; I want it to BITE!
Popping corks are another thing I love to use SOMETIMES. In the summer or early fall when the bait is shallow so are the predators. Throwing out a popping cork and suspending a jig (Chartreuse fo coarse) a few below it can be an awesome day fishing. I love to see that cork disappear in a great swirl. Then HANG ON! It’s going to be a fight.
Using this setup when the fish are deep results in me wondering what I’m doing. I know this doesn't because I tried it already. I had to find out somehow. You will too.
These lures work SOMETIMES. I can try them all the time and might do OK, but I would be better off using what I have in my tackle box that I know will work at that time. This comes from experience and experience comes from doing.
All that Stuff at the Bottom
Down on the bottom shelves of my tackle box are the rest of the stuff. These are the ones that looked like good ideas but didn’t pan out. Maybe I used it wrong or maybe they just don’t work. I never put that much time into things that don’t work before I move on. I’m trying to duplicate success, not repeat failures.
I keep them in my tackle boxes lower depths for those days when nothing else is working. If what I know works doesn't, I might try a double negative just to see.
If the fish won’t hit what works, throw something at them that doesn’t work either.
(Double Negative to make a Positive) Fishermans Math / Short Stories and ponderings | Catch More!
Maybe the reason they haven't hit anything you have thrown at them is because they have seen it too many times and are too skittish to try again. Throwing something they haven't seen works in these times and they probably have not seen the things on my bottom tier.
Fishermen all have the idea that we all know what we are doing and if it didn’t work for me it won’t work for anybody else. Once we learn how to fish, we think like this anyway. There probably is some truth in it, fish are not exactly rocket scientists. They hit plastic that looks like something real. For a second or two, then they figure out it’s fake and spit it out.
This logic really only works in fishing. Usually. Fishing is not an exact science. It’s fishing not catching and I’m only a man. Not everyone gets my humor, or my metaphors. Not everybody liked Hemingway either. I prefer Steinbeck, at least his little books. Both were fishermen though.
Just because I throw these when nothing is working still does not mean they will work. Some Days we aren’t meant to catch fish. Some Days we are meant to enjoy fishing. These are our lesson days and yes, I love fishing even when I don’t catch anything.5 reasons A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work / Older articles / blog articles | Catch More!
As much as I would like to say I never have frustrating days fishing, I still do. I’m a work in progress and I’m still learning. We all are. It’s part of living and not one of us knows everything. The times I get frustrated fishing I usually laugh about later. The fault was in me, not my gear or the fish. God was teaching me something. I like to think he smiles occasionally at me too.
So set up your tackle box to duplicate success not repeat your failures. You will still have those days, and the “probably won't but could happens” will keep happening. It a journey without an end. Unless fishing is your job, then YOU HAVE WON, and I have nothing to tell you. I wish you would share how you did it with the rest of us.
Actually, I love what I do.