How to

Perception is Reality – Bushy on Lures


If you want to be a gun fisho, act like an old hippie by thinking outside the square and breaking down the doors of perception!

Conventional wisdom always dictated that fish you could see cruising about were hard, or even impossible, to catch. Then some bright spark broke through the conventions and anglers like Graham Dear started sight casting monster bream like these beauties!

Mired in dogma of my own making, ignorant and slow to change my ways sums up my early experiences with sounders. Unfortunately I fit firmly into the normal human mould.

HUMANS are odd creatures. As a species we are seemingly intelligent enough to rule our planet, but that is largely because of our communication skills. An occasional human comes along with just enough brains to make a small advancement in his or her field and the rest of us benefit from this glimmer of wisdom because the new idea spreads like a virus through the written word, television, or the all-powerful Internet, and everyone on the planet has access to the new clever thought overnight.

Individual humans are mostly fairly stupid. We generally believe what other humans tell us is correct without questioning things too much. It wasn’t too long ago that people were burnt at the stake for daring to suggest that the Earth might have been round and not flat as 99.99 percent of humans of the time knew it was.

If humans in general are just not very bright and tend to be mired in dogma, then fisherpeople just fit right in. And no, I am not a sociopath – I am just amused by the human condition and I have to smile at some of the incredibly dim-witted thoughts that have held my lure fishing back over the years.

In any piece of writing it is advisable to make your point in the first paragraph and although I have failed that test I think you can see where this column is leading – if you want to be a really gun lure angler you first have to take a large jack hammer and smash the square concrete container that has built up around your thoughts. Thinking outside the square is a start but to get anywhere you might have to smash the square and throw away the pieces.

Okay, I know more about fishing now than when I started but I still know very little and what I have learned has been hard won. I have learnt stuff from other anglers, from various media sources and I’ve done plenty of hard yards learning in tiny increments from trial and error time on the water. I could have learned a lot more if I hadn’t been slowed down by my own perceptions. I have also learnt some things that were just wrong and which have had to be un-learned. Un-learning is actually harder than learning because the human brain starts to set things in stone as soon as they go in.

Maybe if I gave a couple of examples it could save some of you a bit of learning time.

As a kid I read every Yankee fishing magazine I could find and was obsessed with all sorts of lures and lure fishing methods. I lived right on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria but I was frustrated because all the humans in my area (me included) knew for a golden fact that our fish only took bait! Bream, flathead and estuary perch only ate bait in those days. Some near immortal fishos chased bass on Flopys but they were so secretive even the CIA and the KGB didn’t know who was involved or where they fished.

It took me far too long to discover just about all the species that only ate bait were in fact great targets for all types of lure fishing. I know this stuff is now ancient news but the lesson remains – disregard what other humans tell you about lure fishing – use your own eyes and try the things that you think might work.

I just about cry when I think how long it took me to make proper use of a depth sounder. At first I had units that required knowledge, experience and a degree of skill to operate. I possessed none of the above. What I did have was a negative attitude towards depth sounders that ensured failure. The funny thing was that I knew “other” fishos could make the things work but I knew that for me these gadgets were a waste of time. Perception is reality – I thought depth sounders were a waste of time for me. Of course, that was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thus it was no surprise that for a long time sounders and I did not get on.

Even when I tried a fantastic unit and had success with it I still tended to be negative and refused to turn it on half the time. After a fair bit of prodding from my mate Chris Wright, I actually learned to leave the thing running and look at it occasionally. Now my thinking has changed completely and I really would cry if the sounder ever broke down.

My sounder helped me to break down the “edge” barrier for bream and estuary perch on many of my favourite waterways. BS – or Before Sounder – all bream and estuary perch used to live near snags or along rock walls. AS – or After Sounder – most of them lived in the middle of nowhere! Mired in dogma of my own making, ignorant and slow to change my ways sums up my early experiences with sounders. Unfortunately I fit firmly into the normal human mould.

There are just so many things I have stuffed up or could have done better with my lure fishing that I can’t fit them into one column but I will mention another one. How many times have you heard the old furphy that if you can see fish you can’t catch them. If you believe this you’re missing out on some fantastic fishing. I did get a bit lucky here because I fly fished for trout from an early age and a lot of trout fishing involves catching fish you can see. I knew early on that the seeing and not catching thing was false with trout and that helped me ignore common wisdom to work out how to catch all sorts of other fish I could see with lures. I still wasted too much time believing that bream cruising on top were uncatchable but eventually my biggest days were sight fishing for cruisers.

The major difference in me as a lure fisho now is that I have a different way of thinking about lures and how to fish them. Most importantly I have a different way of learning. I still have solid ideas on lure fishing but I’m always testing these ideas and am happy to un-learn something in an instant if it proves to be false.

I guess that is about the sermon for today – we are all human, we are all fairly stupid but if we really free up our minds our learning gets faster. See you on the water!In the bad old days everyone knew that bream only ate bait, not lures. Well, times have certainly changed – and so have angler attitudes.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.