One of the aspects of fishing that never ceases to fascinate me is the fact that there is always something new to learn. No two days are the same, let alone seasons! Each year a new wrinkle, a new point of emphasis, a new way to use old gear or perhaps a new area to fish works its way into my approach. This season there has been no shortage of new, surprising developments and as far as I travel to fish, I always come away with the thought that there is always, always more to learn. The challenge as I see it is to try and glean something new each and every day.
So, in no particular order, here are a couple of the finer points that the salmon -and salmon anglers- have taught me this season!
While some may look at the calendar and judge their seasons end on New Year’s Day, I look at the birth of a new salmon season when the first genuine spring chinook start poking their heads in from the oceanic pasture. The first true springers I see are at the Anacortes Salmon Derby in late March followed closely by the Columbia River spring chinook.
For those that are paying close attention, the food items found in these early arriving chinook are a valued clue and actually set the tone for lure/bait selection throughout the season. Keep in mind that in general, bait sizes increase as winter turns to summer. There are exceptions, such as the small, summer candlefish hatches we see in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Midchannel Bank but one concept remains concrete: Find the predominant, preferred salmonid food item and mimic it to the best of your ability with regard to size, color and depths.
Left Field time sports fans… Bear with me: There is a field of study known as “Knowledge Management”. The cornerstone of this philosophy is a concept known as “tacit knowledge” which describes the fact that we all know more than we can tell or teach . In other words, people are not often aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others.
Have you ever been out fishing with someone, just going through your normal routine and they said “Hey, I didn’t know how you did that!..” You were most likely surprised at your companion’s response since it never occurred to you to mention it because you thought to yourself “Heck, everybody knows that!” Welcome to tacit knowledge.
In my seminars and the Radio Show, I always try to put myself in the audience’s shoes. I’m very fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time on the water and I sincerely try to bring the benefit of that experience to the table each and every time. The problem is that I can’t know exactly what it is that you don’t know.
I experience this situation myself when I get to fish with other guys in their signature fisheries. Buzz Ramsay at Buoy 10, Eric Linde on the Columbia, Rob Endsley, Jay Field & Larry Carpenter in the San Juan Islands , John Keizer out of Westport and Reel Class Charters Derek Floyd in Sitka, Alaska to name a few. I learned something specific from each of these talented, passionate professionals. Literally, I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I got a look how these guys did business in their own boats!
The key concept here: Be aware of the “players” in each of your fisheries. There is something that you can learn from them. If you can get aboard with them, great! But, if not there are always ways to learn by observation…and imitation!
Tom Nelson 710 ESPN Seattle