I often mention how the animals I hunt or the fish I catch are always on the small side. Honestly, it is what I come across more often, just as everyone else who hunts or fishes. Today I sent off my application for the third citation sized catch I have caught from my kayak within the twelve months.
There are bigger fish in the sea, and sometimes I can catch them. If you fish enough or hunt enough, you eventually will come across an animal that will give you just a tad bit more excitement when you see it.
Truth is, sometimes we do try to aim for something bigger. Over the next week I will be going for my bigger and better. If things go properly, you will likely read about it in this column. If things do not, you will still likely see the results in this column as well. I have nothing to hide; it is the outdoors after all and you are battling against the wits of wild animals who have two overwhelming purposes in their lives. Those purposes of course are to eat and not be eaten.
This time, the animal happens to be a fish. We will save the species for the column with the results.
Of course you do not just decide you are going after a citation sized fish, a state record, or a world record. No, you have to do research. You have to know a little about the species and their feeding habits and their habitat. You have to know when the best time will be to go after it.
You have to know and learn everything you can about what you are targeting.
This is one reason I respect anglers such as Jeremy Wade of River Monsters, Jakub Vagner, and even Zakk Royce who recently gained notoriety for catching state record catfish on back to back days.
Hunting is a little different. You can provide ideal habitats for extreme growth, manage the property, and scout the results. Fish, well, is a little tougher.
Yes, you can find out where you are more likely to catch big fish. You can rely on the departments of wildlife, natural resources, and marine fisheries to encourage growth by implementing various restrictions and regulations on size limits. But other than that, it is really crapshoot.
Unless you know something the rest of the anglers do not.
Yes, by really studying the species, you can learn what promotes growth and from that you can scout, albeit slightly differently than when scouting for hunting. Scouting for fish is to look for the habitat that is conductive to attracting the big fish.
You find out what the species eats. You find out where the prey of the species lives and thrives. You find out when the prey will be in certain areas.
When that has been accomplished, then you have a chance to find the big ones. But it is just a chance.
The other part of the equation is you actually have to fish. You know, get the hook wet. Keep it in the water.
I think I know where a potential game changer may lurk. The timing is good. And, I get to keep the hook wet for a few days. So maybe, just maybe I can find my fourth fish of recognition. Stay tuned.