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hanson

Luck or Skill?

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Does it take skill at this to catch big flatheads over and over again, or is it purely luck being in the right place when that big fish is hungry.

I can't help but notice over the last 5 years of participating and reading in this forum how the "big fish photos" seam to take their turn moving around the members of the board. Some guys repeatedly post a few more than others but every week, there are new guys catching big fish or guys who haven't caught a big fish in 2-3 years catching another one. How many guys who haven't done this much go out and nail a big one?

Me for example... I went 2 years without catching anything big and then, Bam! 48lbs. Went another year with nothing over 30lbs and then the next year, Bam! 47lbs. First fish of the year nonetheless. I can think of many other guys who are on a similar every other year big pig pattern.

Does that mean we are fishing wrong the rest of the time? Wrong technique? Wrong location? Or is it just pure dumb luck that your # is called that night?

Luck? Skill?

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Honestly, I think that it is a bit of both, as far as the skill part is concerned, knowing where to look on the river and knowing the proper procedure for catfishing play into it ... the rest I think is pure chance, fish may be biting like mad at a said spot one night, and not bite for weeks after ... right place right time I think plays an equally important role as actual skill does.

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I agree that luck is always invovled in a big fish catch, but by having the skills and knowledge you can cut down considerably on the luck needed.

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It's not just Flathead fishing, it's all fishing. Of course there is luck involved.

To say there is no skill involved is absolutely absurd though. Let's take an average Joe weekend angler, give him all the required gear (heck we'll even let him use an E-Cat rod and a jet boat) and shove him from shore on his merry way.

Now take another guy that has fished the river for many years, put him in a 14ft jon with 15hp, an old Penn baitcaster and Uglystick and shove him off on his merry way.

Better yet, let's do it during super low water levels,post spawn and after dark.

Who's coming home with some nice fish pictures? HA, Guy number one might not even come home.

There is a lot more to fishing than casting out and waiting for a bite. While it may seem easy putting a few nice fish in the boat, it takes several years to realize what it takes to consistently catch nice fish. Having said that, experience alone doesn't cut it either. It's taking all the time on the water, good and bad, and using those times as learning experiences.

Also, don't overlook who the so called "lucky guys" are fishing with at the time of their fortune.

We were talking about this last night in the boat. If I was fairly new to catfishing, and wanted a good chance at catching some nice fish, I would JUMP at the chance to join the BPCL and.....well I did grin

I've caught several nice Musky in my life, but in no way would consider myself a skilled Musky angler. Hardly even a novice actually. So if I made friends with a seasoned veteran musky dude and we happened to win a few PMT events, does that now make me skilled?

and what about the intangibles such as having the right bait and or collecting it?

Here's a tip:

Never EVER pass up the chance to chat with an old riverrat while out on the river or at the landing. He might be able to sum up a few years experiences in one conversation.

Earning the title "old riverrat" doesn't come over night and I know I'm still trying to earn that merit badge.

and really.....

WHO CARES?

Good times, good friends, good memories.

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Right place right time but I think that you can narrow those odds down quite considerably by knowing what to look for as in cover and reading current seams,following bait fish movement reading the structrue that your fishing, moon phase, weather, fish movement etc. Even with all the technology today such as depth/fish finders,gps,jetdrive boats,200.00 dollar rods and reels the list goes on and on. you just dont know if that fish is going to bite or not.

Each and every time that I go on the river it is a learning experience in one way or another and just because you smacked them there the night before doesnt always mean they will be there the next night. Seems when I lose sight of this my fishing tends to be a little tougher. not always but a noticeable differnce. If you pay very close attention to the river it will help you find these big fish but that doesnt mean that it will be easy to catch them as only they know if they are going to bite your bait. and if you want to get good at something practice doesnt hurt.

Skill-YES being able to do the stuff I mentioned time and time again.just being able to learn is skill

Luck-YES good luck or bad luck it happens. Dont let the bad luck get you down use it as a tool or learning experience.

Dumb Luck-Well just ask the guy who caught a 45lb flathead on a nightcrawler last night.

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dtro I didnt even read your post and I think were on the same page with this and I really like the part with guy # 1 might not come home. how true

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bit of both, you need to know where to go to find them, what to use. and how to fight them efficiently to land them. there are some people who get lucky and catch monsters while going for walleyes.

i believe i hooked up to one down in brownsville while we were down there turkey hunting. i was using a jig and a 3" GULP minnow, we were staying at the shell horn bar. so i fished right on the river there, around all those laydowns and stuff. I got a BIG bump and it was pulling a little drag as it swam slowly (i hadnt even set the hook) i was using a medium light walleye set-up. and i have landed many channel cats, big walleyes, and almost every other species with it. and never had something like that happen. so i imagine it was a flat head. never got a look at her though (she broke the line around some of those logs there)

and i have heard of many people around Minneapolis getting big ones while going for walleyes.

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Originally Posted By: dtro

and what about the intangibles such as having the right bait and or collecting it?

Exactly

Intangibles are the key to putting yourself in position to land bigger fish; bait is one, namely quality of bait. Thinking to yourself that burred shock leader "is good enough"...maybe for 20lb fish, maybe not for 40+ fish. Hook doesnt feel tacky enough....file it. Putting yourself into position to land a bigger fish is skill; having the fish co-operating on that particular time your out there is more based on luck.

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I would say 1/3 skill and 2/3 luck. It takes a lot of knowledge to be able to read the river and find effective spots to set up at. Also being able to rig up something that will give you a better chance to catch and land a big fish is skill, but like stated the rest is luck. It's all about the right place at the right time.

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I think it is skill more then luck. If you don't have the skill to know where and what you are doing then your chances are slim. As for the luck part you just consider yourself lucky that its finally happened to you, but you always know that you have poured your blood and soul it to it and your honored at what you get.

Just my thoughts

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Flathead fishing is a puzzle and you can put all the skill pieces in place but if you don't have that one last piece of luck to complete the picture you aren't going to be that successful.

Its just some fisherman's puzzles have a lot more luck pieces than others. wink

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I'll throw one out to think about.

Luck or Skill.... 7 fish over 38lbs and at least 44 inch length in the last 4 seasons(counting this one) Fishing an average of 2 nights a week at most.

Luck or Skill...... of those 7 fish 6 have been contest or league 1st place winners,( Moores, KOTC, BP league, IDO gentalmen's)

Luck or Skill...... Of those 6 events..... Dtro was there for half of them 3-50%. The rest were with other known individuals on this sight.

Now taking into consideration that given the talent of the majority of Cat guys out there in these contest's. Also considering the law of averages.

My situation looks to be Luck with a sprinkle of Skill.

Though if you look back to the time, prior to catching that big fish at your confidence level....realistically.

I think that can be a means of helping one decide if it was skill or luck in some instances..........

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I have never targeted Flats before but break down is no difference then any other type of freshwater fishing IMO.

SKILL * TIME ON WATER * quility of fishery = FISH

SKILL is made up of Species knowledge,fishing ability,experience and effort.

Note: The skill part may have way more to do with who is running the boat/picking the spots and baits and helping you out then the actual person holding the pole.

Yes luck has something to do with it but effort and time bring "luck".

"you don't catch anything sitting on the couch in front of the TV"

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The Belle Plaine Catfish League has convinced me that some nights on the water are much better than others. The last league night in 2008, none of the 14 anglers caught a single flathead. Last Friday night (6/26/09), 15 of the 20 anglers caught at least one flathead, and the three largest fish were 45 or more pounds. Only one flathead caught on league nights in all of 2008 exceeded 36 pounds.

Your skill/luck definitely increases if you hit one of these hot nights. Maybe the skill is knowing which nights are most likely to be productive. However, I think it is more likely spending more time on the water improves your odds of hitting a night with a good bite.

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a lot of luck goes into getting the clicker to rip and a lot of skill goes into when to hit the hooks evervyone gets runs and everyone has a different way to give it the heave. every fish reacts different so you have to tailor your brain into when should I hit it and were should i put it

theres more luck in getting a big fish

theres more skill into getting it to the boat/land

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Based on my experience this year I would say the luck end of it can be boosted by time on the water (zero catfish for this new dad). By looking at Steve's track record and advice I think skill and devotion put fish in the boat consistantly. A healthy population of the species is going to increase your luck too.

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