Ignoring Dock Talk – The Key to becoming a Better Angler
By Tom Stark
Year after year, tournament after tournament anglers are bombarded with dock talk. Many times people listen to the dock talk allowing themselves to second guess their strategies and strengths. It happens all the time someone say’s the fish are spawning , up under the docks , or really stacked up in a certain location or whatever. To become a better angler you really need to go into every fishing day with an open mind.
Case in point, at the Bass Pro Shops Northern Open on lake Erie this year the word was the fish were stacked up on the shoals around Peele Island. In fact everyone said if you weren’t fishing there you didn’t have a chance. I heard what everyone was saying and did the complete opposite and went out specifically looking for schools of fish away from all the crowds and fishing pressure. It took all of my practice but I found what I thought could be the winning school of big smallmouth. I even practiced some for largemouth to have some unmolested fish that I could run to If I needed to, even though I knew the big smallie’s would win the tourney.
During the tournament I ran to my fish and guess what , not only were they there I had them all to myself. For two days I only had one other boat in sight in the area that I found. I managed to catch over eighteen ponds of smallmouth bass each day to ride out a very decent finish in my first pro event as a boater. Years ago I would have listened to the dock talk and would have wound up with a much lower finish I am sure. The school I found was unpressured and despite some giants that jumped off costing me several places in the standings both of my co anglers and I finished in the money.
This year when you show up to the lake, remember to ignore what the other anglers are saying. Fish your strengths and stick with the strategy that YOU think will give you the best chance. The key to becoming a better angler is to not let other people tell you how or where to fish. Do what works for you and remember that nothing can replace actual time spent on the water. Good luck to everyone this season, see you on the water.