A Reflection By Coach Nick Marsh
Nick was a great mentor and coach for our A1 programs in Southeast Michigan this past Summer. I asked him to put together an article with the top things he saw that high school anglers needed to work on. He did a great job and this is his take after spending all Summer on the water with numerous young anglers. I will be providing my take in the next few weeks as well. -Caleb
As our summer programs have finally come to a close it’s time that we do a bit of reflecting. Let me start of by saying hats off to every single angler I’ve worked with this summer, it’s been a riot. I have been fortunate enough to work with some outstanding anglers this year and couldn’t be more pleased with each one of them and how much they have improved. Now with that being said, throughout the summer I kept mental track and a sharp eye on where each individual angler started at week 1 and where they ended at week 8. Keep in mind that each angler started at different skill levels, but regardless of where they started it was obvious early on that all anglers did struggle in the same 3 areas. And this is something I’ve noticed with the majority of high school anglers across the board, not just the ones in our program.
This is a broad area but so many mistakes and near misses can be traced straight back to efficiency. Everything you do on and off the water needs to be done in a calculated and efficient way, from casting, lake breakdown, rigging, running the boat, and things even as simple as standing up and putting the trolling motor in the water. Now this does not mean you have to be a total OCD train wreck all the time. What it does mean is anglers need to use their time wisely and with purpose. Yes, some of this will seem like “well yeah, duh, obviously”, but trust me these are small things I see over and over again with young anglers. To keep this somewhat brief ill talk about some simple areas to improve on.
Let’s start with rigging rods and prepping tackle. This is best to be done nights previous to an event or practice for an event. Doing so the day of wastes valuable fishing time on the water. It’s also much easier to tie on baits and get rods ready on solid ground, not a rocking boat.
When storing rods in the boat rod locker always put rod socks on them, this helps protect your equipment and stop the iconic rod cluster after running to your next spot. Also prevents chips in your guides which could later break off the winning fish!
Laying rods on the deck neatly and in order throughout the day will help from stepping on them, tangling them or knocking them over board. There is nothing worse than seeing a schooling fish next to the boat and reaching down for a topwater rod only to find a tangled mess.
These are small things that can all add up to valuable fishing time at the end of the day. If you work to manage these accordingly you will in turn make more casts throughout the day, won’t be a frustrated from untangling messes and in turn catch more fish which always means more fun! This is only the tip of the iceberg when talking about efficiency so be sure to check back later when we dive deeper into this subject and talk about some things you might not have thought of that will get you more time with a bait in the water.
#2 Boat Control & Trolling Motor Control
Now this is somewhat self-explanatory but it’s clear that many anglers are not taking the initiative to work on this skill set. At the start of the program it was very obvious that 99.9% of the anglers all had the same problem, and this goes for most young anglers. I’m not talking about the big motor, I mean running the front of the boat. The ability to run the trolling motor and fish at the same time is a CRUCIAL SKILL! This is not always an easy skill to work on if you don’t have a boat, but that is part of the reason why we offer our programs to help build this skill. This is why you need to take every opportunity you can to get in the front of someone’s boat and run that trolling motor. Don’t be intimidated by it, once you get a feel it will come naturally. Get outside that comfort zone and just do it, you’ll be happy you did. Let say the fish are held tightly down a break line in 8ft of water. You can’t expect to catch them if you are constantly drifting off the break into 20ft + or overtop the fish because you are unable to control to boat properly. The same can be said for dock fishing. Having the proper boat positioning so you can make the right angled cast under a pontoon or dock is critical to getting bit. So with that being said get out with some experienced anglers like us at A1 and watch how we run/position the boat and try to follow suit. This will help keep your bait in productive areas longer and result in more fish in that livewell.
#3 Getting outside your area
Finally, A piece I see lacking with many anglers is experience outside their home waters. This isn’t always easy but maybe once a year make it a point to get a trip outside your state and fish some new water. With many big tournaments all over the USA it’s a must to be able to break down all types of lakes, from highland reservoirs, rivers, tidal waters, great lakes, glacier lakes and especially the TVA system. They can all be a blast to fish but if you’ve only ever fished lakes with grass how do you expect to do well in tournaments if the lake you go to has nothing but rock and shell beds? Getting outside you state can be a bit of a challenge at first but learning the different fisheries can reward you greatly down the road when faced with a new body of water in a big tournament. Lets say its time for a college coach to pick his team to go to a tournament out of state, he will be a lot more likely to pick the anglers who have experience on that body of water. So try and pick a few lakes that the major tours (FLW & BASS) frequently visit and go fish them! You will learn a lot and it will absolutely put you in a better position down the road.
There it is, the top 3 areas I’ve seen personally throughout 2019 season that high school anglers need to work on. If you work on these 3 factors you will start to put yourself head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Be sure to be looking for our 2020 A1 Angler Development programs where we can help you master these issues and much much more. We can’t wait!