It's not a coincidence that many hunters also love to fish. To be successful, fishing and hunting both require many similar traits: patience, ingenuity, high motivation, along with many others. I consider myself a dedicated hunter, though while not always successful, I put a lot of time and effort into my endeavors. Once summer hits, the various hunting seasons of the fall and spring have finally ended; while there can be some overlap in my hunting and fishing, by this time of year it is time to focus on fishing for me. In order to carry that same fire and motivation into summer fishing, there needs to be some skill and thought carryover. Here are some hunting lessons that can be carried from your deer stand to your fishing boat this year.
Be Where the Fish Want to Be
It's pretty safe to say that if you hunt an area where there isn't much game, you're not going to see much on your hunt. Think about why this is. For example, what would cause an area to be bare of deer? Lack of food, poor bedding cover, or high amounts of human interference can all deter deer. The same can be said for fish.
A large lake will have fish everywhere but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are evenly dispersed and that every 100 cubic feet of water have equal amounts of fish. That would be silly. Fish will be in pockets of the lake and different things will attract or deter fish to and from certain areas.
Treat fishing like hunting in this situation. You might need to cover a lot of water early and "scout" to find where the fish are. Once you find the higher concentrations, focus your efforts there.
Patience Lands the Big One
There is no way to have a long, successful career in the outdoors without developing patience. Patience is the essence of hunting and fishing. Patience is what can make a long day pay off in the blink of an eye. Sitting in a deer stand from daylight until dark sounds like the longest day of your life until that big buck steps out right at the end of shooting light.
Patience is valued in fishing as well. Take it from muskie fishermen who love the old saying "The fish of 10,000 casts." I don't know about you, but if I had to cast 10,000 times to catch a bream, I might consider it a waste of time. But really, the idea is that it takes patience to land the prize, whether it's a big fish or a prize species. You have to have the patience to stick it out.
Some of the most successful hunters and fishermen are the patient ones. Patience is definitely a learned trait and a painful one to learn for some. But once you learn that patience pays off, it gets easier and easier to practice.
Take Timing of Seasons Into Account
The conditions during various hunting seasons such as deer, duck, and turkey change throughout the course of the year. What deer or turkey are doing at the beginning of the season changes drastically by the end. Migration patterns and influx of fresh birds change the conditions of a duck season. The point is you have to be willing to adapt with the timing of the season.
Fish are similar in this regard, because they live in different depths and react differently at different parts of the year. A lot of what triggers fish behavior change is water temperature and daylight hour shifts, so it is easier to pinpoint the transition as compared to the rut in November for whitetails.
All that is to say, you can't fish the same way all year, just like you can't hunt the same way all season. Different baits and presentations are warranted to keep up with the changing of the season. You wouldn't necessarily fish topwater lures when fish are deep in the water column. Do yourself a favor and research what fish do when and then you can make the appropriate choices.
Hide from the Fish Just Like You Hide From Game
This point might sound obvious and silly all at the same time. You have to hide from game to up your odds of success. That is a given. If a deer can easily see you, he isn't going to hang around long, and don't even get me started on turkeys.
Believe it or not, fish often can react to a bait differently if they can see you. Clear water conditions and sunny skies can easily skyline you in up-close fishing situations. Some professional fishermen have mitigated this with boat placement and even clothing choice.
On those clear, sunny days try staying out of the fish's line of sight. Lots of professionals also recommend light colored fishing shirts and other clothing to help blend in with the sky and break up your hard outline. Sounds outside of the box, but hey, a good fisherman should take every advantage.
We often view fishing and hunting as completely different, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Both require dedication and discipline, and not to mention are both incredibly fun and satisfying. The parallels are uncanny, and what often makes a good hunter also makes a good fisherman. If you want to be a better fisherman, take into account some of those lessons you've learned while hunting.