By Allison Miles
The thing I love most about the sport of fishing is that size is not a limiting factor. Growing up, I participated in sports and thrived on competition until my early high school years when it became apparent that my 5-foot stature no longer intimidated my opponents or even came close to measuring up to the competition. Size definitely mattered, so I traded my number 11 jersey for a seat on the sidelines as a spectator.
My competitive spirit has never dulled over the years, so when I was first introduced to the sport of fishing, that spirit came rushing back. Only this time it was more about personal achievement rather than beating a team of opponents. No more sitting on the sidelines. But just like any sport, you need a coach to show you the way and lead you to the winner’s circle.
Over the last five years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the secret to “catching” isn’t actually a secret at all, but rather the ability to recognize and adapt to changing conditions and apply different techniques. All too often people adopt a technique, perfect it and use it over and over again because that’s what they know. We were always taught ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If there is one thing you pick up by reading this article, it’s that complacency holds you back. You will never be better than what you were yesterday if you always do the same thing.
Recently I had the chance to fish with Captain Jimmy of On Time Sports Fishing. Jimmy is a legend in the fishing community and has been my “coach” on the water for the past five years. He runs a 31 foot SeaVee that he trailers from location to location putting anglers on their moving targets.
On this day, we launched out of Hyannis to target black sea bass in Nantucket Sound. On the way out to the grounds, we chatted about the success he’d been having with the Black Hole Taifun-v rubber jig combined with the Jigging World Fluke Candy Teaser. I knew we were in for some fun when he turned to me with a smile and said, “this combination has been deadly, and I mean deadly in a jumbo way.”
Jimmy handed me some leader and I started to tie rigs based off of his setup. As a perpetual student, I can’t help but ask why something is done the way it is, so that later I can apply it to other similar situations.
When we started our first drift, we were marking some nice sea bass and sure enough, they started coming over the rail pretty quickly. Because I do a lot of ground fishing for flounder, my jigging method was to jig it up and pound it down. As I watched, Jimmy was out catching me 3 to 1. Little did I know, he was silently observing my technique and before my competitive frustration reached its peak, he said…”Allison watch how I do it. You gotta wiggle it quickly just above the bottom”. And before he even finished his sentence, his rod was bent over with doubles. So I watched him a few more times and began the quick-wiggle technique and started matching him fish for fish.
After a while though, I began to see the fish that Jimmy was pulling over the side growing exponentially in size. And before I could even make a competitive comment about it, he says “If you want to catch the big ones, drop it to the bottom and slowly reel in until you feel them hit your lure. When you feel it, slowly let your line out.”
Once again, with a slight adjustment, my catch showed improvement. I spent the rest of the day laughing and learning with one the best captains there is. I was careful to pay close attention to the reasoning behind the methods. Captain Jimmy, my “coach” on the water, helped me catch the biggest black sea bass and fluke I’ve caught to date and provided me with the knowledge to repeat it. You can go to http://ontimesportfishing.com/ to learn more about Captain Jimmy and On Time Sports Fishing Charters.
Allison Miles is an award winning angler, fishing enthusiast and blogger. She is Pro-Staff for Esca Lures and an Ambassador for Pure Fishing. You can follow her angling adventures at http://www.gopogy.com.