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Knowledge can lead anglers to more success, memories

Nothing compares to lessons well learned when it comes to advancing and succeeding in life — and that includes fishing.

Put another way, shortcuts will get you to your destination quickly. But thorough understanding and lots of study will serve to make the journey an investment in staying at the top.

People who fish sometimes try to shortcut their way to quick limits and immediate gratification. But the anglers who investigate, read, practice and reinforce will not only enjoy great days when the fishing is good, but also know how and when to adjust when the conditions are poor and the fishing is tough.

Some anglers beg and steal to gain the inside track for their day at the lake, but the real winners are those who make their own decisions about which locations to fish and which tactics to employ.

Consider the gang who stops at the baitshop on the way to the lake. They may buy minnows or night-crawlers, but the real reason for their visit is to ask the age-old question: Where are they biting?

They head out the door with a “hotspot” in mind, but have no clue what to do when that spot fails to pan out.

Others take a more larcenous approach. They observe where anglers have succeeded in the past and sneak out to those spots on their subsequent fishing trips, but with no idea about why the successful fisher had enjoyed such good fortune.

Success in fishing is more than an exercise in memorization. Like the scratch golfer who understands the physics of the swing and hits shots with machine-like precision, the anglers who frequently score better than par understand why fish are doing what they are doing and what is required to get them to react favorably to our presentations.

Today, more than ever, anglers have easy access to information they can absorb and analyze. That information is the foundation on which they can build a lifetime of fishing pleasure.

Learning is fun, especially when it results in more bites, bigger catches and amazing memories.

Magazines and online resources share enormous amounts of information and knowledge about finding and catching any game fish imaginable. Whether you want to catch perch in the winter at the Mosquito Lake spillway or walleyes in the summer from a pontoon boat on Pymatuning, you can find lots of how-to knowledge in print and online. If you prefer video, the archives of YouTube are overflowing with reliable info and instruction served up in three-minute clips.

Remember when your teacher in school encouraged you to figure out the answers on your own instead of parroting another student’s response? Those were the times when we were learning.

Read, watch and listen. But above all, analyze and put the information in context as knowledge you can use when you go to the water.

Spring is coming. Those who will be hosting April fish fries will be those who are digging deep now to broaden their fishing knowledge.

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