Junk Bonds

Lots of pro anglers assert that “I swung for the fences” is one of the most overused and inaccurate statements at every tour level tournament. Rather than being a statement of purpose, it’s often just an excuse for not doing well.

In my opinion there’s an analog at the weekend angling level: “I just went junk fishing.”

Of course there are times when it pays to fish by the seat of your pants, catching one off a dock on a Senko, another cranking riprap and the next one on a swim jig in some hay grass. It’s not an unreasonable strategy, particularly in a one-day event, but I think that all too often describing yourself as a “junk fisherman” means that you’re just too unskilled, unfocused or unlucky to have figured out what the fish are doing. If variety replaces focused practice, you’re doing it wrong.

Sure, successful pros like Ike and Swindle go out with 12 rods on the deck and put a whipping on the local bass populations, but fishing a local derby against the guy with more than six or seven rods on the deck doesn’t usually scare me. I figure he’s more likely to trip on his flipping stick than he is to catch a big bag. The dude who should catch you attention is the one with one or two rods strapped down on an otherwise clean deck, focused in on one particular bite.