Reading Is For Losers

Despite taking up angling only a decade or so ago, my wife consistently seems to outfish more experienced anglers, including but not limited to yours truly. When we go to El Salto, she consistently catches fish as big or bigger than those caught by anyone else in our group. When we went to Escanaba a few summers ago, she landed the two biggest smallmouths of anyone in our group of six that week, a group that included two Elite Series pros, one of them a past Classic winner. It doesn’t always happen – for example in the past year I did better than her on our first forays into fishing for muskies in Michigan and trout in Montana – but she usually more than holds her own.

What’s her secret?

In short, she doesn’t read articles or books about fishing.

Admitting that may seem like sacrilege since her husband, the person who sets up most of these fishing trips, writes for a number of fishing websites and magazines, but it’s true. She just goes out and does what feels right to her.

For example, when we recently fished for tigerfish in Zambia I scoured the web for as much information as I could find about their habits and preferences. She, on the other hand, just showed up.

I was told that the fish behaved like bass, so as we fished in heavy current, I looked for seams and eddies, for the calm water behind laydowns and deadheads, and tried to thread in perfect casts that would present my lure in prime feeding zones. She just kept on casting, seemingly at random.

The result? She landed our group’s two biggest tigers, including a 14 ½ pound beast that was the largest caught by anyone at our camp for the entire season. It didn’t hit because she made a precisely-planned cast, or because she used a nuanced retrieve. It hit because she didn’t know any better, didn’t care, and put the damn lure in front of old toothy’s face. Only when I stopped caring so much about “perfect presentations” did I catch up.

I wouldn’t say she’s lucky. I’d say she has a gift. And while the rest of us are wasting our time reading about Alabama Rig strategies and post-frontal conditions, she’s enjoying life and calling the taxidermist to order another replica.