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FLOAT TUBE FISHING FORUM » Float Tubes, Pontoons and Related Equipment Discussions » Fishing Related Discussions » Hardcore fishermen

Hardcore fishermen

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1Hardcore fishermen Empty Hardcore fishermen on Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:07 pm

Ornery Bob

Ornery Bob
I launched off of a residential beach in Newport in the cold, quiet, dark, but when I returned a little after noon, it was warm and sunny and people were about. I had an encounter as I was backpacking it off the beach on my way back to the car.

A forty-something couple walked by and I nod and the guy says, "You look like a hardcore fisherman if I've ever seen one."

I chuckled and stopped and let that sink in and they slowed their pace to hear what I was going to say and what came to mind was. "Yeah, I guess you have to pretty hardcore to carry your boat on your back" and without missing a beat, the woman says, "No S**t!"

Oh man, I barked out a laugh at that and we all smiled and went our separate ways.

I always have fun fishing, win or lose, but that little encounter was fun too.

So that's where the hardcore part of my title comes from. If you've got your friggin boat on your back, you're hardcore. It's a given. It's the starting point. We are hardcore.

There's lots of ways to be hardcore, but this is ours and the description fits.

And let's be real.. you don't get to be hardcore if you can't catch fish. If you can't figure out the basics, you go home and find something else to do. We all know that catching fish is a multifaceted game and there are lots of ways to deal with that. You have to understand many things and we all know that. We're already hardcore fishermen.

Now please forgive some background...

In my younger days, I apprenticed under a master potter in the guise of one of my college professors. I was one of his students and he got me the job of studio assistant so the college paid me for a year to do his bidding and he taught me in one year what normally takes six years of classes. Because he taught classes at all of those six stages of development and he taught me at the same time. It was a very sweet deal.

One day we were walking through the dry room where pieces that are still just dry clay are waiting to go into the kiln. Raw clay, so fragile.

He stopped in front of one of the shelves reserved for my work and looked at my pieces and then put his arm in and pulled them all on onto the floor and everything broke into pieces. I was shocked, to say the least, but he was the Master so I kept my mouth shut and he taught me a lesson that has stayed with me.

"All crap. You're trying too hard to make pieces. You're focusing on the results and not the craft itself. You're not here to make pieces; you're here to learn the craft. You're not here to make pieces, you're here to learn how to make pieces and that's not the same thing. Learn the craft and you can make anything you want at any time instead of dropping some clay onto the wheel and hoping for the best. Learn the craft and then you can use it to make your art."

Learn the craft.

So that's the deal for me. I don't want to learn how to catch fish, per se, I want to learn how to be a better fisherman. I don't just want results, I want to master the craft and they're not the same thing... at least for me. I want the learn the craft and the art.

So how do you become a master fisherman? F**k if I know, I'm just an apprentice.

But here's what I've been doing to try and I really started this thread in the hopes that others have ideas I've missed.

In no particular order...

I try to learn as much as I can about the fish I'm targeting. We understand and share the same basic motivators - food, housing, and sex. But these factors will play out differently for different species and you have to learn how they affect your particular target fish. The amount of material you will find will depend on the fish you're targeting. Naturally, freshwater bass dominate the available material, but if you search creatively, you can usually find good stuff for almost any fish. Natural diet, life cycle, reproductive behavior, it's all out there. Know your opponent. You can learn their preferences for all the different factors and how they change over the course of the year. As always, compare to your own experiences. Very little is written in stone.

I also try to find out what other people are doing. I automatically assume there are people out there that know more than me. I read forums, I search for web articles, I watch YouTube videos. If someone is out there talking about halibut, for example, I want to hear it. Life is gems among the dross so most of what you find will be the same stuff endlessly repeated, or just out and out bullshit, but every now and then, there's a gem.
I do random searches but I also do targeted searches. For example, if I hear about a new product or someone mentions something in a post that I don't know about, I will search it out. Not surprisingly, many fishing product manufacturers have fishermen on staff that really do know what they're talking about. If you want a specific recommendation, check out the videos by Chad Gierlich, owner of Hookup Baits.

Even many self-proclaimed YouTube fishing "experts" actually deliver some gems now and then, I give them all a chance.

I write stuff down. I've started a fishing log and I mentally review my trips and jot down notes about significant events.

I've started using tracking software that records where I am on the water and lets me record exactly where I caught every fish. I make a note of species and details like structure and bait. It includes charted depths.

I think the biggest thing is to take the time to deeply consider what you learn from others and what you learn from your own experiences. I will often pause a video and think about what the guy is saying. I think about how it compares to my own experiences and prior knowledge. I ask myself if I really believe it. Sometimes you can't help yourself, you just dismiss it as bullshit right away, but sometimes someone challenges my thinking and ends up convincing me that I need to expand my view.

And of course I'm always asking myself questions. Why did I catch that fish here? Why did I lose that fish? Why is this place good or bad? What trends am I seeing? What was it like when I was here before? When I'm on the water, I always try to stay in the game.

So that's my quest. I get the basic idea. I want to understand the nuances that separate the pros from the schmoes. I don't want to just catch fish, I want to master the craft and the art. Any suggestions?

2Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:22 am


Well Bob, you've certainly covered most of the bases and a definitely on the right track. First, just to seperate the pros from the shmoes. The first and formost difference is time on the water. For that there is no substitute. The second is a network that the rest of us just don't really have access to and the most recent and guarded knowledge.

But without exception, while many have their preferred baits and places to catch fish, a successful pro is one who is continually ready to try new things.

Now, to be a pro, you have to be a pro, but to be better than the pack, you have to do those things you have already mentioned. One of the biggest flaws the average Joe makes is to leave the house with a gameplan set in stone.

Don't get me wrong, I have a gameplan in mind ahead of time. But my most successful trips usually involve a change of plan once on the water. By keeping my eyes, ears, and mind open, and letting the fish dictate what they want and where they are, and adapting, my success rate always goes up.

Of course, you also need to get lucky!!!

EDIT: I'm far from a pro, or the best, ( or even close to it) fisherman. I've just been doing it an awfully long time and was around and fishing very regularly while most of the modern day developments were in their infancy.

3Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:52 am


Well stated Ornery Bob,
Continuous improvement requires effort towards improving. I joined the site because of the idea sharing camaraderie. I did not keep a log till I came here and read about it. For me this is purely recreation as opposed to "pro" goal. But, I too have been called "hardcore" for the fishing hours and equipment I lug around. I am just trying to have a good time.

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4Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:57 am


Sorry I did not post on this earlier, this is a great write up and cool story. I like how you explain things very nice. I believe you are doing all you need to be that Hardcore Fishermen, but here are a few things I believe helps me.

1. Always try something new - we all have our comfort zone but it should be expanded to new techniques. Try to improve on your weak spots of fish each time out, or maybe pick up that pack of baits that you don't understand so you can start to understand them better.

2. Experiment with new waters - you might have that body of water that is close to you that you have leaned to master. Now try that body of water that is not so close and you lack confidence in, in time you should understand it better.

3. last and most important - As a high school teacher I share this with my students all the time. You cannot be a master of a skill until you teach it to someone else, because to teach something you have to have fully mastered it. This is partly the reason behind the magazine we produce. The idea i to See one, Do one, Teach one, we did this in the fire service, on the ambulance, and in the hospital, and it can work with anything. If you can show another person how to fish and new lure or how to fish a new body of water, you have just mastered it.

Thanks Bob for this thread I think this will serve a lot of members.

Matthew 4:19 Fisher of Men
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5Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:47 pm


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I'm siting here reading your post, which has a lot of heart and sole......Personally, I don't know that I will ever master the "art of fishing". Every time I go out I question how the day played out....my art at this point seems to be, knowing my equipment, knowing which rod for this type of fishing, what reel works best for presenting the baits. What is the best line and weight to use. U had an article in the mag on color that opened my eyes to clarity and depth. Misfitdog and I had a conversation on presentation. That in itself is an encyclopedia.

I'm having to rethink my game......and secondly I need to target a specific type of fish/fishing and be good at it. I find myself all over the place......Thanks Bob.........GT

6Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:16 pm

Ornery Bob

Ornery Bob
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:...Misfitdog and I had a conversation on presentation.

Love to hear that!

I'll be the first to admit that my presentation skills need serious work.

I'm usually targeting spotties in the usual places, but I've decided the surf line is prime fishing and I need to learn to tube it and fish it, specifically target halibut, so there's  more skills I need.

As for spotties, and bay fishing in general, I've been using this method:
Bass retrieve with hookup baits

Using mostly 1/4 oz Hookup Baits and 3 in Big Hammers on 1/4 oz Hammer Heads - I think the eyes help. I soak the BH in hot water when I first bring them home and they definitely soften up and swim better.

Besides working the baits pretty much as he does, I make sure I'm retrieving with the water flow or across it. Fish will be facing into the current, so I try to make sure I'm bringing the bait to them face on and not up from behind.

There is no question in my mind that the majority of hits happen on the drop, or the first millisecond of the retrieve so keeping a close eye on the line is very important to me. I may let it free spool for the first half of the drop, but then I shut the bail and put tension on the line so I can see if it twitches, or suddenly stops moving.

When I'm working docks or moored boats, I try to favor the shaded sides. I tend to work docks from as far out as I can and still hit the back end of the empty slips. I'll also flip around and cast out to the deeper water as well as working the front faces of the dock line, casting into the oncoming flow. I also try to spot and work any eddies at walls and other structures. I try to pull my bait into the eddy with the water flow so it moves naturally through the eddy.

I also like to work places with rocks and kelp and I usually sit just inside the kelp line, casting out to deeper water and also laterally along the edge of the kelp line. I let my drop shot work the kelp.

Of course I'm in the Hot Sauce clan, so there's that as well, in the presentation column.

Oh and I just added a 1/2 oz War Blade to the tackle box. My first spinner bait! Love to hear how y'all work spinner baits!

I'd love to hear what you and Misfitdog came up with as important points for presentation as well as what others have to say about it. I think this is an area that a lot of people really wonder about.

Personally, I think freshwater and saltwater are more alike than different and I'm planning to expand into the fresh this year so I devour all the freshwater stuff I can get. I'd love to hear from the freshwater contingent too! You never know, that LMB presentation I learn here just might land me a monster Calico!

7Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:08 pm


Team Poseidon
Team Poseidon
Hey Bob, when fishing the eel grass, run your spinnerbait as close to the top of the grass as you can. Over a clear bottom, slow roll it, hop it on the bottom, or even long line it. Try different techniques and let the fish tell you how they want it that particular day.

8Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:09 pm


Senior FTFF Member
Senior FTFF Member
Great post Bob. Really enjoy the deep thinking you approach fishing. I will admit there are times I think very similarly although there are times I don't think much at all as well. I also agree in that targeting bay bass I do many of the same tactics that you are using (targeting shaded areas, bottom structure, casting to fish facing into the current, fishing tight to boats and dock's...) Thanks for the engaging post

9Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:32 pm


I agree that there are similarities with fresh and saltwater fishing particularly for Bass. But the big difference would be the current for the most part. There is a factor that should be learned if you have not so far. I for one understand it but I really fail to take it into account normally. And I call myself Hardcore. Evil or Very Mad
I like this thread keep it going guys.

Matthew 4:19 Fisher of Men
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10Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:38 am

SP Dan

SP Dan
Good Intel.

SP Dan <"))><

Four out of the five voices that I hear in my head tell me to .... "go for it"!!!  [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

"Obsessive Compulsive Fishing Disorder"!

11Hardcore fishermen Empty Re: Hardcore fishermen on Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:05 am


@jeffcpr wrote:I agree that there are similarities with fresh and saltwater fishing particularly for Bass.  But the big difference would be the current for the most part.  There is a factor that should be learned if you have not so far.  I for one understand it but I really fail to take it into account normally.  And I call myself Hardcore.  Evil or Very Mad  
I like this thread keep it going guys.

Yeah, as I meantioned earlier, "fish into the wind"....(same thing , really, on freshwater "lakes" wind is what is REALLY the determinating factor, not tide, or currents.

However, in saltwater, this is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT!!!

Plus, saltwater fish are accustomed to rapidity changing water levels by the hour. Ummmmm.....yeah, gotta say they R different.

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