“You Gotta Find ‘Em”

Rule no. 1

Greg Hackney recently wrote about “rule no. 1”.  Rule 1 has always been you’ve got to find fish to catch fish.  Seems pretty simple.  Not much to argue with, right.  But I wonder how many of us actually follow this.  Maybe this is where the term “search lure” comes in.  That way we can say we are trying to find them if we are searching for them.  Hackney’s greater point is that it often isn’t the lure that leads to success, it’s that you are fishing where the fish are at.

“Here’s the deal: If you want to be successful, get real good at finding them. Use your knowledge of the lake or river, your electronics and anything else that helps you. Once you find them figure out the details.”

-Greg hackney


Where are they?

I want to break this down even further and look at this issue of fish location.  Where they are is the most important thing (hence rule no. 1), but it isn’t the only thing.  If we had to arrange the following in order, how would you do it?

  • Lure type
  • Lure color
  • Lure size
  • Line type
  • Line size
  • Reel
  • Rod
  • Finding Fish
  • Boat size
  • Boat speed
  • Finding the “right” fish

I know what my order would be today.  It would not look anything like what my order used to be.  You see, I’ve spent most of my fishing life looking for, believing in the magic lure, the perfect line or the best rod/reel combination.  And I can say is all of those things are important and sometimes make the difference between catching fish and not catching fish.  Maybe this would have been a much better way to handle the 80-20 rule.  Maybe to phrase it that only 20 percent of catching fish has anything to do with lures, color or other equipment.  Or maybe the trolling motor is way more important than the outboard, or the line is way more important than the lure. But those aren’t popular or conventional ways to look at things.  Why?  Because those things don’t sell the same.  There is much more value in an outboard than the trolling motor.  People buy line as an afterthought.  It’s the last thing you add to the cart (real or virtual).

At the same time this isn’t an “either-or” game.   It isn’t a matter of putting all your emphasis on one aspect of fishing and not the other (finding fish vs baits, or boat).  Just like it isn’t food vs water, or sunlight vs air.  I’m talking about prioritizing things, putting first things first, the “horse” and then then “cart”.  If you leave the cart out, or the cart only has one wheel, then you still have a problem.  My bait, my rod, my line, heck even my sunglasses can become the most important thing – but only after I find them.

I’ve done a few seminars over the years, most of them have been on fishing the Fluke for Smallmouth.  The number one question I get?  “What color do you use?”  It always frustrates me because the reasons I love that bait so much has little to do with color.

An age-old problem

Nothing is more basic to fishing than finding fish.  Turns out, bass fisherman have been struggling with this for awhile.  Just to illustrate the point and to show how far things have come, I offer up “exhibit A”.

Makes you appreciate how far fishing has come.  Or maybe it makes you long for the “good ‘ol days”. In either case, it’s a good reminder of how anglers have always struggled with Rule No. 1.  and the impact that technology has on it.  I guess, if Game Over Angling has a particular slant then it’s about how technology (tools) help us fish.  If those tools don’t help with Rule No. 1, then do they really help?  The tools we have at our disposal to help us catch fish are the best they’ve ever been and we are certainly going to get chest deep into what makes them work and why to use them as evidenced here and here.  But the tools available to help us find fish are also better than ever.  The question is, are we any good at using them?

We are soon going to introduce some courses that will be designed to help you “find ’em”.  I guess we want Game Over Angling to be part of the “anything else” that helps you find fish as Hackney mentioned.

If you are interested in reading Hackney’s piece(s), you can get them below.

Hackney’s article (part 1)

Hackney’s article (part 2)

Hit us up with any comments or questions you have below.

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  1. Thank you for the blast from the blast of my teen years and “The Fishn Hole”..

    Growing up in SoCal fishing the jetties and the piers with my dad, and as I got older chasing pelagic fish offshore in my own 22′ center console Mako with a six pack license under my belt. I hear the words now. Dad would always say.. “It’s not what you throw, but where you throw it” which basically means find the fish.. Living in Texas and Florida it was pounded in my head again.. Find the fish by finding the bait.. How can not finding the fish ever not be #1. You can have the best rods, reels, baits etc. and if you are not around fish they will do you no good.

    Again great read Don.