Throughout my life, there have been two paths that I have followed. There are two separate interests that I have devoted countless hours. The first is obviously fishing, but the other is playing guitar. These two passions have led me in completely opposite directions throughout the years. I have finally settled on one, that being fishing. But as I reflect on both of them, I realized how they have each been a factor in my success. And recently, I have been using my music background to catch fish and to teach other anglers how to properly fish using each and every lure.
As I’m on the lake, I constantly have a tune playing in my head. It used to be some hard rock or heavy metal, but since having a small child, it’s more nursery rhymes and lullabies. I think to myself, “I wonder if fish listen to music?”
They don’t actually listen to the same stuff we do, but there are activities in and on the water that they respond to, much like we do when we hear our favorite song or a song that makes us cringe.
When everything is swimming and crawling in the song Mother Nature has written, a fish will reach a level of comfort. A comfortable fish is more eager to feed than one that is finicky or on guard. As anglers, we want to become part of this cohesive environment and sing to the fish. A lure that is out of place or swimming in an unnatural way will turn a fish off. A boat creating commotion on the surface will do the same. I like to refer to these obnoxious occurrences as hitting a wrong note.
While learning to fish, each lure and presentation is like learning a different instrument. Anyone can walk up to a guitar and strum and pluck strings to produce sound. But some can play accomplished tunes and face-melting riffs. Most people can cast and retrieve an assortment of lures. Others can make their lures dance, shake and bounce to a rhythm that appeals to the fish.
On each cast with every presentation, I encourage anglers to play a tune, a complete composition from start to finish. A melodic intro into a thoughtful verse, followed by a catchy chorus and repeat. Sometimes an additional riff or lick will coax the largest fish into biting.
Now, the smaller fish are babies and will be lulled by “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” which are not very complex melodies. But the fish that have been around for years want to hear some real music. Like us, they, too, have varied tastes. Some may listen to Beethoven and Bach and others may listen to Led Zeppelin or Guns N’ Roses. Figuring out what genre they groove to and what mood they are in will strike a chord in each and every fish. In result, leading us anglers to a strike at the end of our line.
John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932 or xperiencefishing.net.