Study Time

It’s no accident that most of the top professional anglers in the country, whether their species of choice be walleye, muskie, pike or any other species, can be counted amongst the most studious individuals you’d ever care to meet. When it comes to being a great fisherman, one thing never changes … there are constantly changes. These changes require a dedication to continuing education on the angler’s part if they want to stay at the top of their game. That’s not only true of professional anglers, but any angler looking to make the most of his or her time on the water.

In today’s modern era of mass communication, there are tons of sources available for gathering fishing information. Books, magazines, videos and even TV fishing shows can be great ways to feed the brain a steady diet of angling know-how. Whether you’re new to the fishing game or a seasoned angler, these may be just the ticket for learning and advancing your angling skills a notch or two for the upcoming season. But choose your education material wisely.While there are stacks of fishing and outdoor magazines out there, concentrate your efforts on those that cover the topics and species you’re most interested in. This magazine for instance, Esox Angler, is geared toward the fastest growing segments of angling today … Muskie, Walleye and Pike. EA strives to fill the pages with in-depth information from the strongest team of writers out there. The goal is to insure the readers get the best information available to help them learn, understand and enjoy their fishing experience to the max. Periodicals filled with “fishing stories” can be highly entertaining. But if you’re looking to improve your angling success, books and magazines written by qualified individuals dedicated to sharing information on all aspects of angling from conservation of the resource to detailed coverage of tackle and techniques is where you need to keep your nose buried.

Attending seminars conducted by the pros that make a living putting fish in the boat is another fabulous source for gaining insight. These guys can show you what works, how and when to use it and why it catches fish. Many times the most informative portion of a seminar will be the “Question and Answer” session at the end. Don’t be afraid to ask about something the speaker might have touched on that you don’t fully understand. In reality, you’re probably not the only one in the room that has the same question. If you feel it may be a “dumb question”, ask anyway … there’s no such thing as a dumb question if you really do not know the answer already.

There are also enough fishing videos and TV shows available to us these days to keep us glued to the tube twenty four hours a day. Again, most can be very entertaining to watch, but for the learned angler, there are only a few that offer any real educational value. When we began production on The Next Bite TV program, our goal was two-fold; share with the viewers the fun part of the fishing experience as well as the technical aspects of the sport we felt would help them become better anglers. It’s proven to be a successful formula.

The knowledge absorbed from these types of sources however can be limited. Don’t get me wrong, they provide an invaluable resource to anglers and are critically important to someone wanting to learn the basics of fish location, behavior and presentations as well as keeping up with trends in the fishing arena. All important stuff if you want to be a consistent catcher of fish. But staying current on where the hot bite is and what’s getting the job done now calls for a different source of study.

In the world of information gathering, few resources offer an angler a more up-to-date or interactive venue than the internet. The world-wide-web has opened up a whole new realm to anglers seeking knowledge. While a magazine such as Esox Angler is full of great and valued information, it’s one that’s been months in the making. Articles are written, edited and sent to print, along with photos, ads and other art work, a process that can take a few months from conception to the news stand. But the internet is instant.

No where is that more evident than on the many Forums available across the net. Internet Forums are the web’s interactive community bulletin boards. These boards give visitors the opportunity to ask questions of and share information with a vast group of like-minded anglers ranging from the novice to the seasoned veteran. The internet gives immediate access to the information that you need to know now. Fishing reports gathered today can be posted today, not written up for the local newspaper to be printed and delivered a week later. If you have a question regarding a particular lure or tactic, you can post your question on the Forum of your choice, and often with in minutes have several responses from anglers more than willing to help you out.

There are some important guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a Forum. First and foremost, you want to be getting your information from anglers that know the score … anglers that are out there in the trenches everyday. There has been a practice in past years of forum visitors disguising their identity behind nick names like “Walleye Slayer” or “Pike Master”. But if you’re looking to get the Real Deal info from Real Deal anglers, forums that encourage visitors to use their real names allow you to determine who it is you’re getting information from, whether that be a well known fishing pro, noted guide or expert in a particular field of angling knowledge. Credibility and accountability are the ear-marks of a good forum. When we started The Next Bite web site’s Forum Page, (, these were guidelines we went by. It has worked well, bringing together one of the strongest and most knowledgeable communities of anglers on the web.

When it comes to fishing, there is no teacher better than time on the water. But having a head full of good info prior to hitting the water will go a long way to up your learning curve. During these long, cold winter nights is when most of us have the time to devote to study. Spend your study time wisely, and the rewards will be a more productive and enjoyable season ahead.