Everyone who fishes either for sport or fun knows that while fishing is simple, catching fish is not. We think we have it all figured out, and 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. Many factors weigh into whether we are catching fish or just passing the time. Even though there are many factors, I would argue there are only three 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 three 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 ten factors to catch 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.
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 primary source of attraction? Some fish are attracted by sight to bright, flashy objects, while others tend to follow their nose. Knowing what the fish like and when they like it and adjusting for water temperature and weather conditions are also important. 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. Many techniques are 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 topwater 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 fish's aggressiveness, whether they are active or passive. In open water or along the bank, their location is essential in choosing the appropriate technique. "What bait am I using?" is, of course, another essential element. Are they getting thirsty?
Some will say you don't need this final part to make a "Fish on a Hook," 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 a professional angler, everyone needs a little. Have you ever been fishing with a buddy using the same bait and technique, yet you are catching fish, and they're not, or vice-versa? What's the difference? Is there 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 it's luck just the same. Some need half a glass, some just a splash to take the edge off, but as I said, everyone needs a little.
There you have it. Mix bait selection with technique, add some luck and have a perfect "Fish on a Hook" there. 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. I 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. I'll take mine any way you make it.