Do I have too much stuff?

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I sat in the boat the other day, in the middle of the worst fishing slump I’ve ever had, and the thought came to me, “Do I have too much stuff?”

When I say slump, I don’t mean a week or month, I mean a whole year. The past 12 months has been a constant struggle. Finding fish, getting them to bite, etc., has not come easy.

My mind went back to my earlier years on Lake Jocassee. I had to pick one of the toughest lakes in the country on which to try and learn how to catch big fish. Nothing came easy there, and when I finally found something that worked, I just went with it. In the days before I had internet, texting, and such, I had to figure things out the hard way, trial and error.

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I was using a new technique, and so there was no foundation from which to build. I started simple. I stress the “ones” that follow: one lure, I brought one very incorrectly matched rod, the wrong line, and one prehistoric reel. I would go and fish the same areas, the same way, with the same lure, and I caught some very good fish. As time went on, they ran electricity down our road (no, not really) and I got the internet.

I read of the correct rods, lines, reels, and yes, an ever expanding array of lures. As I started expanding my arsenal, I increased my sonar tooling, my areas to fish, and that has been continuous till this day. This includes all my fishing.

Let me pause here to say, I have always strived to keep my fishing simple, I stress this to everyone I talk to. But when you’ve fished for over 35 years, and do it for part of your living, you tend to slowly amass quite a collection over time.

So, back to the beginning, the thought is. I used to use very little and caught fish regularly; now I have much and struggle to catch fish. Do I have too much? Well, I’d say no, but, is there something to consider here?

My problem is not the available resources, the knowledge of waters, techniques, and lessons from the past, or even the world wide web. It’s keeping in mind I can only effectively fish one place at a time, one technique at a time, one rod at a time, and pretty much one fish at a time.

In my early Jocassee days, I wasn’t thinking about what else to tie on my line, where else I should fish, what someone else said they had done the day or week before, or the photos on Facebook. I just focused on the cast I was making at the time, thinking where this fish would be, not the ones five miles up the lake.

So maybe the next trip will be one rod, one lure, one cast at a time. And catching one fish at a time.