3 Parts to the Fishing Cocktail
By Michael Kilby
Everyone who fishes either for sport or fun knows that while fishing itself is simple, catching fish is not. There are times when we think we have it all figured out, then days go by without as much as a nibble. What has happened, did we lose our expertise? Are the fish getting smarter? Maybe it's the weather. In fact there are many factors that weigh into whether we are catching fish or just passing time. Even though there are many factors, I would argue there are only 3 main parts to pouring ourselves the perfect fishing cocktail. Since drink names such as "Sex on the Beach" and "Fuzzy Navel" have already been taken, may I suggest "Fish on a Hook?" The drink may be made with any combination of the ingredients. They do not have to be of equal parts, but to make a "Fish on a Hook" all 3 must be present. So put your barkeeper's hat on and let's start.
The first part of our drink consists of bait selection. Now I can hear you out there, "I can think of at least 10 factors which go into catching a fish." This is true, but many are just sub-factors of choosing the main ingredients. For part 1 of our drink, we must ask questions like; "Who is our customer?" and "What do they like?" If our cocktail is being served in a high class restaurant or club, we need to use top-shelf liquor only. This will of course cost more, but that's what these customers want. On the other hand, if we're drinking at the local pub and money is of concern, cheaper brands of the same liquor may do the trick. Some will like their drinks made strong, others will want a better tasting, yet lower in alcohol version. Now, what does any of this have to do with the price of tea in china? KNOW YOUR FISH. Does it like jumping for top-water lures, or picking at slow moving soft baits across the bottom? What's its main source of attraction? Some fish are attracted by sight to bright flashy objects, while others tend to follow their nose. Not only knowing what the fish like, but knowing when they like it, as well as adjusting for water temperature and weather conditions are also important factors to consider. A little research goes a long way in picking the right bait. This is a great start but we're not quite ready to start drinking yet.
Part two of the "Fish on a Hook" recipe is technique. There are many techniques available in creating the perfect drink; "Shaken not stirred" is just one. Drinks can also be made hot, cold, or frozen. Fishermen also use varying techniques in their efforts. Whether quick popping a top water lure, fly fishing, or slow reeling through the vegetation, many of the same sub-factors which go into bait selection are also relevant here. We must consider the aggressiveness of the fish, whether they are active or lethargic. Their location, in open water or along the bank, is important in choosing the appropriate technique. "What bait am I using?" is of course another important element. Getting thirsty?
Some will say you don't need this final part to make a "Fish on a Hook", that if you poured the first two parts just right, number 3 is unnecessary. I beg to differ. The third and equally important ingredient is luck. There I said it. Good or bad, weekend warrior or professional angler, everyone needs a little. Ever been fishing with a buddy using the same bait and same technique, yet you are catching fish and they're not, or vise-versa? What's the difference? Is it that there's more fish on his side of the boat or a few feet down the bank? Perhaps, but I say it is luck. It's either good for you or bad for him, but its luck just the same. Some need half a glass, some just a splash to take the edge off, but like I said, everyone needs a little.
There you have it. Mix bait selection with technique, add some luck, and there you have a perfect "Fish on a Hook". Tasty isn't it? "Wait a minute," you say, "it can't be that easy." "What about fishing gear?" "What about my fish finder and GPS?" "What about my rod selection and reel choice?" - Valid questions all. I just make the drinks; you have to decide how to serve them. "Will that be in a tall or short glass?" "Straight up or on the rocks?" "With salt or without?" ... you get the point. Personally, I'll take mine any way you make it.