Tom Rypka’s grandson Kaden Finholdt shows us older fishermen just how it’s done with this goliath grouper caught recently on a trip with grandpa to the Florida keys which he released. Tom says Kaden is passionate about fishing and is looking forward to some walleye fishing soon on Lac Suel. Way to go, Kaden!
This morning one of my pals came in the store and told me about just having bought a Hydrowave. “Damn thing was expensive,” he said.
Ever since I was in my early teens there have been tempting “gizmos” that have been advertised as sure-fire fish catching devices. Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman would be one early example. Maybe it wasn’t so much a sure-fire gizmo for catching fish, but it was advertised, in what could be one of the earliest Infomercials, as a “complete rod and reel that fits in your pocket and will allow you to catch fish anywhere there is water.” Huh, must be some sort of magic. I actually bought one and used it in the bathtub. Didn’t catch a thing. Maybe they need to modify their claims a bit.
In my younger days I used to guide on Lake of the Woods out of Nestor Falls, Ontario. Safe to say occasionally there would be a fisherman who would produce some sort of gizmo that I had never seen. He (or she on rare occasion) would claim that whatever they had brought aboard would absolutely slay any species of fish. Now if that was the case just why did they need me, a guide? That question was never answered (and I actually never asked), but invariably toward the end of the day we would resort to time proven techniques we typically used and, if we were lucky, catch a limit by day’s end, the gizmo relegated back into the fisherman’s tackle box. And usually never brought out again.
I have always had some sort of fishing boat and in about 1980 I was talked into investing in a paper graph fish finder. Skeptical would be a perfect word to describe my less than optimistic response to the local boat dealer’s enthusiasm for such machinery. But he persisted and I bit and the next day the fishfinder with several rolls of expensive thermal paper were on board and ready to go. All I needed to do was read the 200 page manual.
For local reservoirs this gizmo was pretty neat. It did show the bottom and most structure that we passed over. The interpretation was somewhat lacking on my part, but that is more attributable to my refusal to read and study 200 pages of operator’s manual details than any sort of shortcomings on the part of the fishfinder. Squiggle here and sharp, dark line there, at least I could figure out where the bottom was and that those bumps and drop offs that appeared could potentially hold fish. The little arcs suspended between the bottom of the graph paper and the top were supposedly fish. And I must admit that this graph did improve my fishing, especially when going after lake trout in mid-summer depths of 80 to 120 feet.
Now we have LCD or color fish finders that are amazing and will actually show side views as well as bottom structure. Unfortunately I haven’t figured these out at all and the owner’s manual, if it is supplied in print at all, is hundreds and hundreds of pages long. I still have 12:00 flashing on my now outdated VCR, so expecting me to master one of these new fish finders just isn’t going to happen any time soon. But I try. Boy, do I try! And as far as fishing gizmos are concerned I have no doubt that these fish finders are really valuable and actually do contribute to much greater fishing success.
About 4 or 5 years ago I watched a video on the Internet about a waterproof “greenish” fluorescent light that you put into the water after dark and it would attract all of the fish within miles of your spot. To me the presentation for this product was compelling. I watched it several times and lo and behold finally sprung for the $149 to not only buy the device, but the deluxe package that included a book of fishing tips, a decal for my boat, a “pro” hat, and all sorts of other paraphernalia. Then I made the ultimate mistake; I brought it into the store.
I had barely got through the front door when one of our fishing pros asked, “What cha’ got there?”
“It’s a fish attracting light I found on the Internet,” I responded confidentially expecting shock and awe from our pro acknowledging I had discovered a real fishing “secret” unknown to all but a few.
He smirked and rolled his eyes. Then one of the other pros came by. Same response. Then the laughter began. So here I was, a guy in his 60’s with a fish catching gizmo being made fun of by several people who depend on me for their income and livelihood. Doesn’t that just seem wrong? No respect. No slack. Just snickers and not even an attempt at suppressed laughter! Absolutely wrong. The rest of this story is that the light is still back in the warehouse hidden away in some obscure spot and as far as I know – unused. It may work great, but I’m not about to risk further insult and neglect to find out.
Same thing could be said of an even later “invention” that, thankfully, I haven’t yet invested in. The Laser Lure seems to fit into the “gizmo” category as far as I am concerned. OK, it may in fact work great, but I am a skeptic. The premise is that somehow a laser light shown through the body of a crankbait will somehow attract fish. And all this is predicated on a guy who shot a laser beam into a home fish tank and (supposedly) his fish went crazy. Isn’t that the same thing that happens when you point a laser beam at a commercial jetliner? The pilots go crazy – with anger. But I’m not real sure they bite anyone or anything.
It seems that Mike Iaconelli endorses this product and like I said, who’s to say it doesn’t work. But this just seems pretty farfetched to me. One guy points a laser light at a fish tank and pisses off some fish and, Voila, we have a new gizmo that everyone should jump to have. I don’t (and didn’t) buy it.
So this morning when my buddy told me about his new Hydrowave I was skeptical. I listened to him extolling the purported virtues of his new device. It seems that this device is endorsed by Kevin Van Dam and several other pros. Now with all due respect to KVD, I don’t know of too many products he hasn’t endorsed. Not saying that the Hydrowave isn’t the greatest invention since the outboard motor, but just because KVD endorsed it to me is no guarantee that it will be a game changer for fishing.
As I understand this gizmo it is supposed to mimic the sound schools of bait fish make. Crap, I didn’t even know bait fish talked! Any fish talked for that matter. Can you imagine the research that had to go into this in order to come up with a device that perfectly emulated “minnow speak”? But what if the researchers got it wrong? What if instead of the bait fish saying “we’re here and ready to be eaten by all you bigger fish” they were actually saying (via the Hydrowave) “Don’t get close. There’s a fisherman above us ready to turn you into a wall plaque” or something of that nature?
I’ve been reading books written by scientists trying to interpret dolphin as well as dog language and behavior (not the same book) and neither book can reliably state that researchers know one iota as to what either species is actually saying or means to say when they speak. So to think we actually understand a bunch of baitfish swimming around in the water “talking” to each other seems, how do you say, a stretch. But who am I to judge? Maybe my pal is on to something. Maybe.
Here’s my point: There are an awful lot of fishermen who operate with what I call “lottery mentality”. They are looking for the quick win. The instant solution to make them the envy of fellow fishermen. Just one new trick, one new gizmo and they’ll be producing results like the top pros (Kevin Van Dam, Mike Iaconelli, etc.). But I just don’t think it’s that easy. Becoming a really good fisherman takes one thing above and beyond all others: practice. That’s time in the boat, time on the water, using quality gear, and time making hundreds of thousands of casts. Trying different things and fine tuning your presentation, casting accuracy, graph reading skills, having the right equipment, and all other elements of “fishing” will eventually make you a great fisherman. But I just don’t believe there is a quick fix, a new gizmo if you will, that will compensate for lack of these skills developed over lots of time on the water.
Like my dad used to say, “If making money (or anything else you want to insert in place of the word “money” such as doctor, lawyer, pilot, etc.) was easy then we’d all be rich (or insert appropriate profession).” I feel the same way about fishing. It’s challenging and takes developing a set of skills. Depending on how serious you are about it will dictate just how much you invest into it. But the quick fix, the gizmo that is some sort of “secret” short cut? I don’t think so.
This issue of our newsletter we’ve got some great news on Kopper’s Live Target Hollow Body Mouse. They’re here! All of the details are below. We’re also introducing our new line of American Legacy Fishing hats/caps and we’re convinced we’ve hit a home run with these new babies. Be sure to take a look below for all the details. We also have finally got a excellent stock of the hottest braided line available today – Power Pro’s Super Slick. Be sure to read all about this line that will increase your casting distance AND accuracy. It’s simply amazing. We also have some details about one of Shimano “most overlooked” low profile casting reels, the brand new Citica “G” reels. Check these bad boys out for sure.
Once again we thank each and every one of you, out great friends and customers, for your loyalty and patronage. With the fishing season going full bore it’s always a real pleasure to help you with some great gear. Much appreciated and never taken for granted!