Teach Them to Prepare Properly What They Keep


A Sound Principle in Teaching Kids To Fish

Part of the young excitement for kids in learning to fish is showing off what they caught. Teaching them how to prepare their catch gives them the responsibility for having caught it.

When Fish Are Killed, They Should Be Eaten

As young folks learn how to fish and hunt, they bring home more and more of their harvest. Showing them how to clean, prepare and cook what they take is a vital part of the American sportsman ethic. I release more fish than I keep; but I far prefer wild fish over farm-raised, store boat varieties.To me, it’s a blessing to have wild game or fish on our table; so I teach this principle to young people who have this interest in partaking of the wild. I teach it also to their parents or guardians when asked for advice. In business there’s a proverbial cliche that it’s better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish to eat. I agree with that completely.

The interesting phenomenon is that this approach invariably yields some of the more enthusiastic and devoted conservationists in the American outdoor world–that’s both my experience and my opinion. By learning to utilize as much as possible our entire harvest we learn to become excellent stewards of our natural resources.



What’s the best bass lure on the market?

As hot summer sun warms the bays, not all smallmouth bass have gone to deep water

This smallmouth came savagely to Tony Gunderson's sunfish spinner bait cast along reeds in shallow water on a late afternoon in June.

The dichotomous answer is enough to make one chuckle. The simple part is, “whatever works!” But that’s about as good an answer as “do the right thing!” to someone who really wants to know.

The truth of the answer is that there is no best lure. It’s the fisherman’s knowledge of bass, the species, their habitat and habits that distinguish who catches the most. It’s the angler’s understanding that brings some more big fish than others catch.

The “best” way to acquire that knowledge is by fishing with fishermen who are better than you. Watch what they do; ask questions and imitate their techniques. Then, the bass you catch will teach you what works and what does not.

Observe the nature of the environment you’re fishing, measure the water temperature, note the wind–its direction and speed. You don’t have to write these things down; I’m just suggesting that you note them because they are considerations in the factors that determine where the bass, large mouth or small mouth, are located on a given day, and why they may or may not strike.

There’s one proverbial truth that never changes. “You can’t catch fish if you don’t cast.” Here’s a second truth worth considering if you have time, “You can’t cast successfully if you’re not on the water.”

So if you must go through the failures and mistakes in order to attain the knowledge you desire, speed up the process by fishing with anglers who know what they’re doing–as often as you can.

~Dwayne Parsons on Twitter @IFishWrite


The Greatest Factor Involved in Consistently Successful Fishing

Believe Like a Child Believes

As we drove up to the Point of rock, this boy said, “I’m going to catch the biggest fish and the most, ’cause I always do.” Four of us went about it for an hour or so and sure enough, this kid was right!

Believing you can is more than half the battle in fishing success.

Not only did he hook and land the largest of the bass caught that night, he fought it extremely well, keeping himself calm, not giving slack as the fish swam hard, pulling line on a drag set just right. It took a minute or two to bring the bass in where his Father could net it.

Look at the beam on this young man’s face. Who can deny his excitement. The great thing was that even his brother, who would have liked catching that fish himself, said something like, “Man, it’s great when someone catches a fish THAT big.”

We were all excited and the mood went home with him that night to be shared by his entire family. I thought about it and realized how important it is that fishermen believe they are going to catch fish. Al Lindner said the same thing once, I believe it was Al, that those who believe they are going to actually catch more fish than those who cast with apprehension, skepticism or doubt.

Can there be any doubt about that? Look again at the beam on this boy’s face and tell me you don’t believe.

# Dwayne Parsons, Twitter @IFishWrite

Fishing for Knowledge

I enjoy my time on the water enough to ask myself why. Sometimes it is in fact the solitude I find of just being in the zone. But more often, especially in this portion of my life, I find a greater pleasure in sharing the experience with another.

Rick Lawrence of Fish'n Fool Lures has become one of my favorite catches on the boat companion side of fishing. He's extremely knowledgeable and very creative when it comes to catching bass of either species. His experiential wisdom applied to fishing has greatly increased my catch to cast ratio.

Rick Lawrence of Fish’n Fool Lures has become one of my favorite catches on the boat companion side of fishing. He’s extremely knowledgeable and very creative when it comes to catching bass of either species. His experiential wisdom applied to fishing has greatly increased my catch to cast ratio.

In my opinion, this guy is quite outside the proverbial tackle box. It’s not uncommon for him to show up with a new prototype bait he’s just designed and is testing. He’s one of the more accurate bait and spin casters I’ve ever met. His body memory, developed from countless numbers of casts, places his bait time and again in the exact spot of his mind-eye coordination. I’m talking precise. Sometimes I can only shake my head at it and wonder how the human body knows exactly how much whip to put in a rod tip to place a lure weighing so many ounces exactly where the man thought it ought to go. I admit, I’ve never detected a laser beam emanating from his eye nor seen a red dot on the water on the edge of those reeds, but “plop” there goes his swim bait or floating mouse or sinking fool. And the next thing of course is a nice bass. If it’s large enough, it’s brought into the boat, weighed and photographed and then released again for another day.

You can’t help but love to fish with a guy like that. For me it’s always a lesson in learning, always a new discovery either in technique or presentation and so I’ve enjoyed one of the best seasons of my life, because this kind of learned knowledge coming from the other person in the boat allows me to pass it on to the lesser experienced guests I like to host.

Aside from methods, lures and the what-not of bass fishing I’ve learned something else from this gentleman of the water. Quite often he will invite a third person, someone he barely knows, who has inquired about his lures through some store where he’s given a clinic or through his FaceBook page. That person is always along to learn and Rick demonstrates great candid patience in assuring that they understand how a particular bait is to be presented and where it should be cast. He’s a natural teacher in that way, never lecturing, always willing. And when our guests watch him boat one fish after another with relative consistency, they start to pay attention.

Me too!

# Dwayne Parsons on Twitter @IFishWrite

Wind Swept

A Northeast wind bore down the river like a freight train, but we found the bass despite it—two fishing fools in a boat that shouldn’t have been out there.

This 3-pound smallmouth was ample reward.

This 3-pound smallmouth took aggressively under adverse water conditions because we were in the right place.

When the owner of Fish-N-Fool Lures called me mid-morning to see if I wanted to fish with him, I couldn’t say no. I’d attended one of his seminars in Spokane at a General Store sport shop a couple of nights before. I was primed, impressed with rich notes from listening to an innovative thinker. In my opinion, Rick Lawrence fishes well-outside the normal paradigm of accepted techniques. So I said “yes” and was on the road by noon to meet him an hour later.

We knew weather conditions were less than favorable, but we’re persistent fishermen. A hefty Northeast wind, not common in the Panhandle of North Idaho, had blown in over night carrying weatherman predictions of 25-mile-an-hour strength. Holding a boat steady in rippling currents with an electric motor under that kind of wind could prove impossible, but we had to try. We hoped for shoreline pockets where the wind would have less control over our profile.

We had to work for these fish; let me tell you. In the spring of the year one of our favorite crankbaits is the medium diver Rebel Crawfish because the river system is loaded with spawning crayfish. Rick took a 15″ Westslope Cutthroat on that crankbait, and I took one smallmouth, a full pound of fighting flesh. Using pinched barbs, we released both. But the wind was fierce and the currents near the small town of Priest River were excessively strong as the gates at Albany Falls Dam west of us were open to prepare Pend Oreille Lake above for possible flood conditions.

Anybody in his right mind would pass up a day like that, but when Fish-N-Fool calls you, you don’t turn him down. We fished first a small private lake for largemouth bass, skip-casting beneath willows thinking the trees would protect us, but with only two small fish landed and few strikes, we left for the river hoping to find shelter from the wind along Pend Oreille River’s steeper banks.

A mile or so downstream from the boat launch at Priest River, we realized no part of the channel was free of that ghastly wind. Sand blew off the low-water beaches as if we were in the Saharah Desert. You had to whip your rod tip to cast into that wind. We shifted from crankbaits to tube jigs, him using Gitzit Tubeworms and me, my usual Strike King Tubeworms, favoring 1/2 ounce over 1/4 ounce in those conditions.

Fishing the current lines and eddies we found pockets of smallmouth in various places. Rick proved to be a master handler of his Minn Kota Maxxum 101 lb electric trolling motor and we needed every pound of it to hold us in the powerful blend of wind and run-off current.

By the end of 2 hours under severe conditions, we took 12 bass apiece for a 24-fish total catch, the largest being the one in the photograph posted here, roughly 3-pounds–all released. When you’re a Fish-N-Fool like Rick and me, there are no bad conditions. Some are just worse than others. There’s always a way to catch fish if you can figure it out. First you have to find them, then you have to offer something they’ll take. I like it that way, and so does Rick. You’ll read more about him in future postings on this blog.

All in all we had a good and memorable wind swept day. #