Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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Skill vs. Experience and how it applies to bluegill fishing.

Are they one and the same? I used to think so, but  these days I tend to divide the two. I do believe that with experience, skill SHOULD increase, but it's not guaranteed. If I travel to a BOW some states away in order to catch bluegills, one that I have never fished before, I might let experience tell me where to begin my efforts. And I'm reasonably confident that I will find a few. But, that's not necessarily skill is it? On the other hand, if I can zero in on the biggest size class of bluegills in that new BOW and  begin bringing them up fairly quickly and regularly, then perhaps that might entail some skill.

And what about our "home" waters? An estuary in the Carolinas, a deep reservoir in California, cold water Michigan or backyard ponds in Indiana? Waters we know very well. Skill?? Or experience? I submit that whenever I fish my home water, I am relying far more on experience than skill. To me, skill entails the ability to travel to waters never before fished, and successfully target the largest size class of bluegills located therein, without spending weeks searching, or enlisting the services of a local guide. I've mentioned before the need to fish where big bluegills live in order to catch big bluegills. Big bluegills don't live everywhere. Knowing where the bruisers inhabit takes experience in home waters, and skill in unfamiliar waters. Or at least that's how I see it.

Could we travel to each other's home waters, and successfully target the largest specimens in the absence of outside help?? Skill, or experience? Can you have one and not so much the other? How confident are you in your skill set being able to target those larger fish in unfamiliar waters?

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this is a excellent question; a lot of different answers;; and- the way I see it;; no wrong  answers !!  ok when we all ; first started casting;; we all needed practise. then; with time we all got better; skill?? or muscle memory ?  doesnt that also acount for a good cast ?? repetive work- outs; teach muscle memory to the point you dont even think of making any movement;; you just ( know) and do it ! skill? or experience ?? a lot of great answers to this here !

What if we dig a little deeper....have electronics reduced the need for experience? Myself personally, I only use electronics when ice fishing. But even then I know better than to drop my transducer in 3' of water.....experience has taught me where to begin looking for those bluegills in my ponds, on a frigid January morning. And it isn't shallow in a cove.

fishing magazines added to the experience for me back in the 70's and beyond... a fishing facts or in-fisherman was nearly always rolled up an in the back pocket walking through the high school halls. back then with a paper lake map i knew the high percentage areas of the lake. took a little while longer to find the fish but i found em. a great time to learn... i will always remember that learning process. sure things are easier nowadays to find fish, but back in the day fish were so numerous and larger in size it didn't matter

.No, it's increased the need for experience. I'm fishing large bodies of water where there is not enough lifetime to search all that water. Again if it weren't for the electronics I would have never developed some of the tackle and methods I currently use.

For me I'm not interested in fishing; I'm interested in catching. For 10 years I wasn't catching anything. Reading magazines, trying what everone else has tried, nothing. It wasn't until I could capture realtime data on what's going on that I began developing the skills and experience needed.

For me it isn't a sport. I don't buy meat any more. It's part of my life just like gardening. Bewteen gardening and fishing my grocery bill very low

Damon, let me ask you something: let's say two anglers who have never fished your water came for a visit. One knew how to fish, but was a casual, once a month angler. The other angler however was a pro, fished every chance he or she got, was used to catching their limit of bluegills.

Place both of these anglers in a boat on your water. Give the electronics to the novice and show them how to use it, let the veteran fish without. Where do you put your money for the most successful catch: on the experience of the seasoned angler, or the electronic eyes of the beginner?

Have electronics really increased the need for angling skill, or lessened it?

  1. I'm saying your question is limited to an either/or mentality, pitting one against another when that doesn't reflect real life. Most of us are niether pros nor novices.

Notice how my lastest videos did not use sonar. Hmm yet I caught fish even in hard condition. Part of hat was due to experinx, part od that was due to elegronic helping understand how my waters worked.

I've become a better angler through skill, experince and electronics.

Experince with fly fishing taught me the advantage of a long limber rod and flying my own lures. But use use neither a pure fly rod nor pure flies for fishing. I use a combination on both: fly rod blank built for spinning gear and baor harnesses tied on a flytying vice.

Went fishing with a couple freind once. This guy was a tournament bass guy, nothing big, just local tourneys. Total tpirney set up. About 20 rods rigged all with different lures. I couldn't even cast a bait caster. They showed me how. I mostly fumbled and bumbed. They looked cool fliping and side arming up against the bank. None of us were catching fish.

At that time I was big into fly fishing. I paused for a second and thought. A big cold front moved in the nigh before. I figured the fish weren't shallow but scared off into deep water because of the thunder ans lightining the night before.

Ipicked up a shad colored crank bait, cast it behind the boat off the starboard side into deeper water. Bam! Fish on. Five minutes later Bam! A nice spotted bass. They looked at me, "You ain't fishing, you're just drag lures behind the boat!" I caught two. They got skunked. I couldn't even cast, yet I caught fish against these tournament guys. It was a combination of experonce, knowledge, skill and electronic becausw he did have them and was reading out depths to us as we fishes down the river.

I learned quick that if you want to catch fish, you're goung to have to go against tradition, conventional wisdom and develop your own methods that put fish in the boat no matter what anyone thinks.

Damon;; you say;; your not interested in fishing; only catching ???  and not a sportsman ??   my highest praise goes to militatry; sportsmen; and the like there of.  as for me;; I love to fish;; catch them or not; ( would prefer to; but not nessary )...    Tony;; keep  this one going buddy !!  lots of great answers here !      just for a reminder;; back in the 50;s;; 60;s early 70;s  no depth finders; fish finders nothing of the electronic age !  and for the most part;; trolling motors had yet to be invented !  we had to skull a boat around !!  how many people can do it today ??  

Yeah, in fact I use oars instead of sculling. People ask if I use iPilot. Yeah, I'm the pilot. 200 years ago people used oars instead of sculling. That's how Geroge Washington did it.

haha ... me-pilot

But that doesn't answer the question, it merely sidesteps it. Samuel Colt's revolutionary revolver has been referred to as "the equalizer of men". Might electronics be the 21st century equivalent, where anglers are concerned? A device that renders local experience not so necessary as before?

No i did answernthe question,

It is a good point… and that’s what I’m afraid of. The electronics nowadays seriously narrows the gap between beginner intermediate and top level angler. The only thing separating the angler gap of success now is skill and knowledge. A BOW can only support so many top level anglers. 

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