Okay, here is today’s question: what is the single most important factor that you always have to consider, in order to be successful, when you go fishing? And I’ll give you a hint. It has nothing to do, whatsoever, with boats, motors, rods, reels or lures.
The answer, of course, is that you have to be fishing on a spot—or spots—where there are fish, because everything else is absolutely unimportant.
Indeed, talk with any real estate salesperson and they’ll tell you the three most important things that determine the selling price of a house are location, location and location.
I was reminded of that on Saturday as I was sitting in a layout blind in a field near Oak Hammock Marsh, north of Winnipeg, with my daughter Jenny and good friends Cameron and Brennan Tait and watched thousands of Canadas, snows, blues and mallards parade past our decoys. Only the birds were one field away and thus, too far to take a shot.
In other words, we were in the wrong location.
The days immediately prior, when Cameron and Brennan had scouted out the shoot, the wind was perfect for the field we had chosen and it was filled with ducks and geese that were munching and crunching on the barley seeds that littered the ground from the recent harvest.
But the wind shifted to the west over night and blew like the blazes. So, when the birds lifted off from the marsh in the morning, instead of heading into, and fighting the blustery weather, they simply drifted down wind with it.
Now, we may have been born at night, but it certainly wasn’t last night. So for Sunday’s hunt, when Cameron’s daughter Madison joined us, and when the winds were predicted to be similar to Saturday’s, we made a slight adjustment of less than one-quarter-of-a-mile in our location.
And it made all the difference in the world.
Truth of the matter is, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many thousands of ducks and geese lifted off from the marsh at sunrise and flew out to the fields to feed, passing over our spread.
Now, when you’re hunting waterfowl and can see your game, it is easy to determine if you’ve picked the perfect spot—or even a good or mediocre one—to set up. But the same thing is just as true when you go fishing, so long as you rely on your sonar unit to tell you if there are any bass, walleye, trout, pike, perch or crappies, below the boat.
When you’re fishing, too, you’re much more mobile, so if you don’t catch anything after fifteen or twenty minutes, you can pull up the electric motor and move to a different location.
It all sounds so simple and yet, so many anglers fish “history,” returning to the same locations, over and over again, failing to take into consideration the changing seasons, water conditions, shifting forage patterns and fishing pressure.
Indeed, on Sunday, we could have gambled and returned to Saturday’s field because it had produced so many birds the days and weeks prior. But do you know what? With the consistently strong winds blowing from the same direction, we would have been no more successful.
Instead, we changed location and it made all the difference in the world!