We recently received and email from a newbie trout angler in Tasmania with some questions about bait choices. Like so many folks this weekend (myself included), she and her husband were getting ready to go fishing this weekend.
Apparently some heavy rains drowned most of earthworms and so she had the idea to use mealworms. Her husband probably considered himself a good angler, but like many anglers was stuck in the box.
Many anglers get very attached to their way of fishing and no longer are willing to explore other possibilities. Sure, they still catch fish. But the problem with this way of thinking is that you'll never be able to improve as a fishermen. If you aren't open to new fishing techniques, you won't be able to raise your game to the next level.
Great fishermen are always listening to others (novice and experts) because they know there's a chance they may hear something they've not heard or thought of before. They know that others (including newbie anglers) just may be on to something.
In this case, the wife (a newbie trout fisher) was right! Trout do LOVE mealworms. In fact, mealworms were always my grandpa's first choice in bait - and he caught countless trout using them.
Consider this as well. Rainbow trout are famous for biting on marshmallows, cheese (preferably cheddar), and corn. These bait sources defy logic - and yet somebody had to be the first one to try it. In my mind, it was either a small child or a desperate fishermen (who ran out of bait and was having too good a day to quit - so he used what he had left). Either way, this is thinking outside the box!
According to legend, floating jigs were invented by a desperate fishermen who was having one of those great fishing days. He ran out of bait and didn't want to call it day. So he broke off a piece of his Styrofoam bait container and glued it to his hook and then added a dab of nail polish (borrowed from his wife) for color. Defying logic, he caught more fish using this technique.
The history of the fishing spoon is similar. According to legend, Julio T. Buel (inventor of the first fishing spoon) was out trout fishing one day and took a break to eat a jar of fruit. He was sitting in his boat when he dropped his spoon. It fell in the water and twirled at is sunk - and as it did, he watched a big trout lunge for it and swim off with it. The rest is history.
These stories help remind us that great things happen when we're willing to think outside the box. There are many more stories like this - and I like to believe we still have some great trout fishing tips and techniques to discover. We just have to be open to the idea and willing to experiment and learn!