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10 Fishing Lessons We Can Learn From Football

Image of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers via Alaskan Ventures

Fishing and football just might have more in common than you think. 

Of all the sports that exist in the world today, fishing and football have to be at two opposite ends of the spectrum. Football is a game of endurance, dedication, preparation, skill, and strength.

Fishing on the other hand… well, um… is sort of similar when you get right down to it. Sure, fisherman aren’t known to tackle each other on regular occasions, but I’m sure it has happened a few times. Football players aren’t really known for laying down a cast against a 40 mph wind either, but touchdown passes in a 40 mph wind are seen every Sunday.

Besides those few similarities, the following list is composed of 10 fishing lessons we can learn from football.

Related: The Best Fall Fishing Lures for Each Species

1. Don’t Stop Until The Whistle Blows

All too often, fishermen tend to stop fishing just a little bit too soon. Usually, the magic hour is that last hour of the day when fishing typically is at its peak. How many times have you stopped fishing during last light just a little early because it was getting too dark, the mosquitoes were too bad or the wind was too strong?

2. A Great Coach Can Make All The Difference 

In my life I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by a lot of great fishing coaches. My grandpa, dad, and uncle taught me everything I know about fishing. They gave me the opportunity to fish, find fish, learn about fishing, and keep fishing all the way to the present day.


3. Teamwork Pays Off  

Football just might be the ultimate team sport. It takes every part of special teams, defense, and offense to win a game. When it comes to fishing, a team is always better than an individual as well. Two fisherman working together down a bank-line casting complimentary lures with complimentary presentations will find patterns much faster, resulting in more fish in the boat

4. Practice Makes Perfect  

In more cases than I can remember, the difference between a solid hookset or a spooked fish lies in the cast. If your casting isn’t perfect, well, you better get practicing. When I was a kid, I spent countless hours casting at coffee cups in my backyard. I now do the same with a fly rod. I refuse to let the fish of a lifetime get away because I can’t make the best possible cast at the most crucial moment of the day.

Must Read: Here’s What’s On Our Angler’s Bucket List

5. Audibles Are Necessary

Fishermen have to be able to adjust to changing conditions all day long. If not, the patterns that worked in the morning that wasn’t adjusted to a higher sun or wind, will simply not work in the afternoon. If a pattern can be adjusted all day long to opportunities that arise throughout the day, then success will follow.

brad smith
Photo via Brad Smith

6. Sometimes You Need A Timeout

Some of the best fishing I have found on streams or lakes has come after taking a timeout. Just sitting back and watching the water can reveal things that fishermen often overlook because they are so busy fishing and not paying attention to what is happening around them. It can also be a momentum change in the day as an opportunity to recollect thoughts and get refocused.

7. Cheaters Never Win 

Fishermen face the same challenges every time they take to the water. A 12-inch limit for a bass means a 12-inch limit. An 11-inch inch bass will result in fines, penalties, and even loss of fishing privileges. Snagging fish, keeping more than the limit, killing fish unnecessarily, or other illegal activities are just bad for the sport and fishermen in general, because just like in football, we all have a collective reputation and one bad egg can ruin it for the rest of us.

8. Home Field Advantage

Fishing home waters simply produces results. Away lakes, just like games, have all their own difficulties, but those home lakes can be gold mines, especially if you fish tournaments. Why drive 250 miles across the state when the fishing in your own backyard might be just as good?

9. It’s a Game of Inches 

Just like football players, fishermen live by inches. Most game fish have to be certain size limits to be legal for both recreation and tournament anglers. Water depths and fish locations vary by inches down specific shorelines, as well. Just think about the last time you landed your lure directly in a tree. One inch to the left or right just might have cleared that branch.

Must Watch: Giant 54″ Muskie Caught From Follow Up to Release [VIDEO]

10. Winners Do What Losers Don’t 

If fishermen want to catch more fish and have better days on the water than others, they simply need to put in the work. How many fishing articles do you read a week? Do you get to the lake before everyone else and fish when others go home? Do you practice casting and lure presentations? If the answer is no, then you deserve every fish you don’t catch.

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10 Fishing Lessons We Can Learn From Football