Published February 25, 2024

Clever or Quirky, Wise or Weird…Hmmm

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

A Slice of Life

Lest you think I fell off a dock and hit my head on my fishing boat, it is with complete honesty that I am about to freely reveal, in complete detail, precise facts of a very important and personal nature.

I have not been coerced, am not under the influence of drugs of any kind and have not been promised any favors in exchange for what I am about to disclose. True, I am a fisherman, a necessary disclosure regarding my commitment to honesty.

No, this story is not about the big one that got away. I caught them, honest, but rather a confession in this very public forum. I am taking responsibility for my actions. Total accountability. Well, at least the count part.

Enough introduction and intrigue. I promised facts and I will deliver them, even at the risk of you, dear reader, reaching a conclusion that I am indeed some sort of waterlogged nutball.

About five or six years ago I began counting each cast I made with a fishing rod. Not every day on the water, but many of them. This I did without the knowledge of my fishing companions, except for occasionally mumbling numbers aloud that made no sense to my fellow fishermen who understandably surmised they should choose their fishing partners more carefully.

It was just over four years ago, and several fishing companions later, that I came clean. I purchased a counter and wore it in such a fashion that it soon became part of my casting regimen. Every time I made a cast I pushed the button on the counter. At the end of each fishing day, I simply read the number off the counter and entered it into a journal.

Weird behavior, I know, especially since I had no idea what I was going to do with the information. As I soon discovered however, fishermen being as they are, that is, always trying to outwit and outsmart their fishing companions with some new lure or technique, became intimidated by what they perceived as a completely surprising and innovative tactic.

Of course, they could only speculate in their clouded minds how I must be utilizing the information to further my fishing success. I could see their nervousness grow with each click of the counter. So certain were they of their fishing prowess, they dared not inquire, an act that might reveal their true wisdom as fishermen.

Ahh, the joy that was mine as they struggled to decipher this mystery method that I alone understood, which I did not. No matter. At last, I had realized a use for the goofy habit of counting casts! The silly practice elevated me considerably in the eyes of fellow fishermen and confidence is the name of the game on the water.

Really though, intermittently studying data accumulated from 45,627 casts from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2023, several patterns emerged that I have used to my advantage. Things like making too many casts with a lure that is not producing results. With few exceptions, 25 casts per lure without catching a fish is my limit now.

Muskie fishing statistics are particularly telling. Several times I’ve caught two or three muskies in 15-20 casts, then none for several hundred more. An example – one time I caught muskies on cast 8 and 14, then went zero for 356. There it was on paper, proof that stubbornness doesn't always work when fishing.

My advice to anglers is to buy a simple counter, use it and say nothing. Your fishing partners will believe you have an advantage over them and will lose focus trying to figure out exactly what it is. The hook is set. Priceless.

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