Got a random text this morning from a friend that guides up in the
Mn area. He was down in the St Cloud
area and looking for some tips and spots to try on the Horseshoe Chain for
catfish. As a panfish fanatic, if I lived up in the Alex area, I couldn’t see
myself ever traveling somewhere else to fish as that area has a plethora of
fertile lakes that produce some monstrous crappies and bluegills. However, here
is a guy who has no problem getting on big panfish any day of the year looking
to stretch his boundaries out and try a new species through the ice.
Of course after giving him some ideas for baits to try and spots to start out at, this got me to thinking. Have I travelled enough outside of my core area enough this winter? I have chased lake trout up north, and have fished a lot of new lakes, and a few new spots on familiar bodies of water, but these have mostly been for panfish. Which makes me wonder if I am losing my wanderlust for fishing; granted the snow pack and ridiculously cold weather has contributed to my hesitance to travel far and wide after new fish this winter. I guess it is time to recommit myself to chasing some new species, I am already making plans to chase some brook and rainbow trout through the ice next weekend.
One certainty I have always found in fishing, is that a desire to learn, whether that be a fishing new lake or chasing an entirely new species, will ALWAYS make you a better angler. While it can be difficult to quantify at times, somehow learning how to fish for lake trout, will make you a better bass or panfish angler. For example, many of my favorite panfish tactics have come from learning more about successful walleye and bass tactics. I contend that this is mostly due to the fact that most predator species (yes, panfish become a predator instead of prey when they reach a certain size) will inherently behave in much the same way as any other predator species. There may be some difference in the way they relate to structure and depth, but they all need to eat.
Time to pack an assortment of rods, grab the tackle bag, and head out to drill some holes on some unnamed lake or pond. Why? Because I want to see what it is there.