Luck or skill in fishing

?I was in one of the local fishing tackle shops this week and got talking to a couple of anglers who spend a lot of time on the water and fish most of the area bass tournaments.
As we shared some fishing stories from the fall, the conversation somehow ended up with us debating about the luck factor in fishing.
For many people, luck is the biggest factor in their fishing success—the main element they rely on to put fish in the boat.
For others, though, luck comes from hard work and putting yourself in a position to get lucky by using the right lure in the right spot.
The most common phrase I hear from people at the end of a day of fishing, whether I’m at the boat ramp or pulling into a tournament weigh-in, is “Did you have any luck out there today?”
For me, there’s definitely a luck factor in fishing, but I tend not to rely on it for my general success.
I’m fortunate because I get to spend more time on the water than most folks, so I use that to my advantage in an effort to constantly learn and become a better angler.
For my guiding business to be successful, I need to put in the time to find good fishing spots, as well as the best presentation, to catch the fish I target. This comes from spending a lot of time fishing “dead” water in an effort to eliminate sections of the lake to get to the best stuff, where most of the fish are located.
When I practise for a tournament, I try to spend as much time as I possibly can looking for groups of fish or a system to catch them consistently. A system could be using a specific lure in certain weather conditions or precise depths.
Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun are Minnesota anglers who have won the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship five times, including the past three consecutively.
I’ve heard people say, “Those guys sure are lucky.” While it’s true, they definitely have some luck on their side, these guys work very hard to achieve this success.
This past year, I was launching my Lund at the same access as these guys and, after a few days, I started playing a little game with myself. I was waking up super early every morning in an attempt to beat these guys to the water in the mornings—and not once could I pull it off.
Not only were they on the water before the sun came up every morning, they fished until nearly dark every night for the entire week of practice. They put in more hours practising than any other team in the field the week before the tournament, so much of their luck came from hard work.
In much of the tournament success that I’ve had, luck definitely has been a player. I consider luck to come in the form of landing the fish that you hook, the weather allowing me to fish the way that I want, or getting the right size of fish to bite.
When Chris Savage and I won the Kenora Bass International for the first time in 2000, we had the big bass of the day on Day 2. It was a five-pound largemouth that was a key fish in earning us the win.
When I set the hook on this fish, I did it really hard with the bait-casting combo I was using. I set the hook so hard, in fact, that the reel actually broke right off the reel seat on the rod.
I dropped everything, grabbed the line, and “hand-bombed” the big bass to the boat.
It was early in the day and the first time we would use the net. Well, Chris went to net the fish with our net, which was the extendable type. But we did not have the extension locked in and when Chris went to net the fish, it totally spun around and the fish went from being in the net to back in the water.
On attempt number two, the fish actually got caught in the mesh of the net and, in a quick and highly-risky move, “Savy” lifted the fish into the boat as it hung from the gill plate in the mesh of the net.
We were very lucky to land that fish and I will remember that catch forever.
So would you rather be good than lucky or lucky than good? I think you have to be good to be lucky.

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