It is interesting to spot the differences when so many folks hop into your boat over the course of the season.
Recreational anglers, for example, who typically only fish a couple of times a year, are usually clutching longer than normal, soft action rods with medium to parabolic tips that bend over under the slightest amount of pressure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone running for the net after they’ve hooked their first fish and have tricked me into thinking it is an especially big walleye, smallmouth bass or lake trout. Despite the fact their rod is curving over dangerously, I typically wind up dipping a tiny finned creature. It is good for a laugh, if nothing else.
But, compare it with the more experienced hard-core crew who typically come equipped with a bundle of heavier action sticks. They set into a fish and fight it nonchalantly and surprise the heck out of me when I see the size of the brute alongside the boat.
“Why didn’t you tell me it was that big,” I usually chuckle, when I haul it into the boat.
It goes without saying, too, that the soft action rod crowd typically gripes much of the day about constantly missing fish while the heavy stick mob hook them steadily.
I was thinking about this recently, after interviewing good friend Derek Strub, for an upcoming Outdoor Canada magazine feature. Derek is the odds-on favourite to win any big cast-for-cash smallmouth bass tournament around the Great Lakes where he is regarded as one of the finest finesse anglers on the planet. He specializes, in particular, in deep-water drop-shotting which most anglers equate with light action rods with parabolic tips.
“I use much heavier action rods than most anglers,” Derek told me, adding that he regularly drop shots with a jig/worm rod. “When you use a light parabolic action rod, you can’t tell if you’re feeling a fish or your weight. And setting the hook can be problematic.”
Which is the perfect segue to this week’s Fish Talk With The Doc video tip that I recorded recently for Angelo and Pete and TV’s Fish’n Canada Show. In the words of United States President, Teddy Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.