(Editor's Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)
With winter coming to an end, most fishermen are starting to get back out on the water. With this activity, there has been a corresponding increase in fishing-related social media posts, and one trend I’m seeing is anglers putting guys in touch with one another for information purposes. I realize that the information game has become a big part of tournament bass fishing and I know some people rely on it exclusively, while others like myself take it with a grain of salt and rarely use it at all. It’s a choice that each individual must make, but before you do, you should ask yourself these two questions:
1) Do I honestly believe that this guy is going to give me his juice?
2) Will this information make me a better fisherman?
In my opinion, if you can answer yes to both of these questions, then obtaining the information is probably helpful. However, I have rarely been able to answer yes to both questions.
In regard to question one, the only people I can honestly are say willing to give me their best spots are family members and a handful of my best friends. I have a hard time believing that when you contact someone you don’t know very well – or even at all – they are going to tell you much more than the location of a few community spots or common-knowledge baits to use. Why would they give you their primary locations when they need those spots for tournaments they’ll be fishing the following weekend? The information you receive is likely going to send you down the wrong path, since you’re fishing someone else’s secondary spots and trying to build a pattern on that. There’s a very good reason fishermen are known as liars. Remember that!
Question two is more important, and you can’t answer it unless you answered yes to question one. Don’t just get stuck on waypoints, you want to learn why a waypoint is good. Is it a transition zone, a certain depth, mixture of weeds, location, etc.? More often than not, waypoints won’t produce, or at least won’t for someone who was blindly given one. It’s really hard to fish someone else’s fish, which is the primary reason I choose not to get information. If you don’t know the correct angle to make the cast you just won’t get bit on some spots. This is why it’s more important to figure out what made that waypoint good. You can take that knowledge and try to build a pattern of your own, and then you’re fishing your water and not someone else’s.
I have known professional anglers who have come and gone and got more info than I could ever imagine. Much of the time the information itself was good, but these anglers weren’t competitive and rarely cashed checks. Why? Because when conditions changed they didn’t know how to adapt. All they could do was fish other people’s spots. They had no idea where the fish went when conditions changed and didn’t utilize their own skills or knowledge to relocate them.
You cannot rely on info to win tournaments. It’s only a tool if you can figure out how to make it useful in your own personal bag of tricks. That’s a lot easier said than done. I find that it blinds me from fishing the moment and takes my concentration off what I want to be doing. So, the next time your Facebook friend offers to help you out, ask yourself these two simple questions before you base your entire fishing trip on their information.