One of the most frequent questions that I receive from anglers looking for an edge is "how can I become a better angler?"
Well, although this can be a difficult question to tackle, here is my perspective on the subject.
Fish Your Strengths
When you look at all the greatest anglers, they all may be versatile, but they all have certain strengths that they are known for.
In my own fishing I have recently looked back on all my best finishes, as well as my poor finishes, and the common thread has been that when I do well I am using techniques I consider my strengths, but when I do bad it is because I'm using tactics that may traditionally do well on a particular lake, but I am not as familiar with.
So, my primary advice is to always focus on your strength techniques- the ones you have confidence in and have the most experience with. In my own fishing, I have found that when I'm fishing my strengths I not only have more fun, but I fish with confidence, and I am able to make better decisions.
Build Better Strengths
Although my personal approach to fishing is to always make my strengths work under all circumstances, the only way I can truly be an angler that catches fish under a variety of conditions and seasons is to build a portfolio of different techniques that work in different situations.
I love flipping and pitching, and would say it is my primary strength, but there are certain situations that those techniques won't work, so I have built strengths that can help me fish other situations.
For instance, I really like throwing a Carolina Rig, so when I have to fish deep I have the C-Rig to help me catch more fish in that situation. I have grown strong at finessing fish in clear water with the Ned Rig, shakey head and a wacky rig, so although I am not strong with a drop-shot, I have those other finesse tactics to help me succeed in clear water situations.
To me the key to success in fishing is not being decent at all techniques, but rather being truly great at a handful- or even just one technique that is able to be used in different situations.
I will end this word of advice with a quote from one of the greatest in a different arena, but who's wisdom fits very well here too:
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times." -Bruce Lee
Seek the bite!