I would have to disagree in part with Wide Open. While I would agree that a good fisherman is one that can find the fish, that is half the battle. If you have spent any time on a 1/2 boat, I'm sure you have witnessed a small portion of the passengers catching the majority of the fish. Having the knowledge on what lure to present and how to present it, separates the average fisherman from the truly great ones. In addition, when it comes to using live bait, the better fishermen will catch more fish by simply knowing how to present their baits in a fashion that will garner more strikes. What pound test should I use? Sliding egg sinker, no weight, or dropper loop? All these questions come into play and the better fishermen generally have the answers that produce more fish. The bottom line is, the more time spent on the water the more likely your skills will improve. Pay attention to those around you. You can learn something from those catching all the fish, as well as those that aren't. Take care and may we all become the fisherman we aspire to be.
I think there are several things that are very important.
Most important I think you have to really love fishing. Even more then catching you have to really like being there. Of course catching has to be important. The good fishermen Iâ??ve met canâ??t stand it when fishing is slow. They want to change something, try something different or move, anything but sit still. But good or bad they just love being there and fishing.
I also think you have to be a hunter at heart. These people have a deep hunger to overcome and succeed. They just love to pay attention and learn details.
Lastly, without time on the water, well your just fishing like the rest of us. Nobody can be really good at anything without practice and experience.
Opportunity recognition & attention to details
Learning transformed into action
Trial & Error
Sense of humor
Love for the sport
Relentless persistance & perseverence
Jeff (Dalton) I think you kind of enforced my point origionally, using the 1/2 day cattle example. We actually agree on that one, there are many good fisherman here on AC, and Cattles. My point, That's only half the battle. If someone else has done all the work spent countless day's on the water, done their homework, spent the time in the glasses....you know what I'm talking about....then that's the other half! Simply jumping on a 1/2 day boat does not make you a good fisherman! The cream always rises to the top on any boat, cattle or PB'ers.
I am sure if this was posted on the long range board, there would be some rage as to my response, but on here, I think you understand my perspective. I spend most of my time hunting marlin. It's definetly not for everyone, cause most get bored quickly, especially here in So. Cal! That said, in our game, finding the fish is....well everything! Other species are more prevelant here, although, the choice few top fisherman, find their targeted quarry with great regularity.....others? Stumble upon or sometimes just get lucky. I realize there are some in between, but there is quite a difference indeed!
My overall point. Finding the fish is much more important than dropping a line in. Being at the right spot, at the right time, with the right bait, with the right current, with the right intel, with the right line test, with the right equipment......gives you a much greater shot at succeeding at the second half, which being the Angler half! Are there accomplished anglers out there that deserve internet applause? Absolutely! I'm a BAC member, which as some of the finest on the west coast! However, most of them also fill in the first half as well......finding the fish!
Different perspective.....so let's assume....and I have no idea in the long range game or cattle who is considered the Brett Favre of anglers and captains, but let's say for anglers it's Wahoodad....and it may very well be! Then let's say Tim Eckstrum is the one we are going to compare him to as the best overall fisherman. I know neither, and know very little about their accomplishments, just using them as examples, however, if it was me....I'd pick the overall fisherman every day, the person with the instinct to put you on the fish, then to also be able to catch the fish second.
Let's look at the top marlin boat, Bad Company. Steve Lassley is the captain and long time swordfish captain as well. Steve has fished his entire life and know's how to get it done! Pete Grossbeck is his go to angler,and usually run's the pit for him. He has more top angler awards then many of us has fingers in all the top tournaments on the west coast! That said, who is the better fisherman....I'll pick Steve all day, as he is the most complete, all around fisherman....and that is quite a statement with Pete being his competition, so it is said.
Good fisherman are a dime a dozen. There are tons of them on this board and the other boards. But what separates a good fisherman from a "Good" fisherman? One thing and one thing only......RESPECT.
More than ability, knowledge, tools or time on the water. With RESPECT the "Good" fisherman will become the "Great" fisherman.
First and foremost, as a PB'er, you had better well have respect for Mother Ocean and her power and quick changing weather or you can forget about it. I think too many people have died on the water because of such lack of respect for the Oceans.
Maybe it's just me, but it all starts here...RESPECT.
I like Stinky's response as well, as it galvanizes my responses. There is so much more to awarding the trophy to the "Fisherman of the year!" then the guy catching the most or biggest fish on a 1/2 day boat! A good fisherman requires the capacity to understand conditions, safety, respect, angling experience, finding fish, community, mechanical ability, and yes in a lot of cases the means to support the sport! So who are we going to nominate to the Allcoast Best all around Fisherman of the year award?
I think a GOOD fisherman is the guy who learns each time out what he can do better next time out & prepares himself for each trip to be as succesful as he can.But I can say that ANYBODY who just loves to be outdoors and wet a line,be he "good" or "bad",He's O.K. in my book.
All the great fishermen and divers I know, possess one quality above all others: the ability to instantly adapt to the prevailing conditions and act accordingly, whether it is moving to another spot,changing lures or reading a tempbreak correctly...for most of us, this comes only after years of experience..
Alot of good points made by Wideopen and others...but I think LB Bob's got it right imo.
I will make the analogy to cooking if I may . Many of us can cook by formula/recipe. I can even do ok that way. But, I've got to follow the recipe closely or I'll screw it up badly. If I'm missing a key ingredient and have to improvise, I'm frequently at a loss. The truly great cooks are those that can walk into a kitchen, take whatever's in the fridge and pantry and whip up a world-class meal just based on their instincts for what works and what doesn't (ala Iron Chef).
I feel the same way about fishing/skippering. There are lots of us who can log spots from friends, books or past experiences. And we can go to those spots and perhaps even set up on them properly given prevailing conditions. We may even be able to recognize what those conditions are and whether they are right for that particular spot at that particular time (although this last one will narrow down the list of competent fisherman very quickly). Perhaps we know enough to have picked the time we fish based on the most attractive tides and moon phase. We will hopefully know traditional ways of rigging for the species we're after and where/how to present up/down the water column. We will have hopefully either made or bought appropriate live bait and have those artificials that experience tells us will work on our target. Some of us will have detailed log books (although this will be very few of us) which will have very specific records of our past trips and will enable us to know what the prevailing conditions were when we fished a spot and did/didn't get bit as well as what bait/rigging worked and our guess as to why. Some of us carefully cultivate our "code groups" to judiciously share information with a trusted few (and, yes, this is for better or worse part of the sport).
Those fisherman who do perform all of the above tasks as part of their preparation and execution (and more elements that I'm sure others could add to the list) will be competent and successful fisherman. They may be tournament winners or the envy of the friends and will be admired on the fishing boards for their posts. Those who understand the sport will have an immense appreciation for the work ethic and diligence that these successful fisherman bring to the game.
But, I have had the good fortune to fish with some truly GREAT fisherman and, unfortunately for most of us, I think they have something that goes beyond all the above. They have something in their DNA code that makes them fishy. I have fished with a guy like Mark Wisch and driven by 3 spots that I thought looked like sure winners based on all that my mental "recipe cards"...and he just kept driving. And then pulled in somewhere that I'd just NEVER have tried...and whacked the WSB like crazy (and been the only guys that really found them that day). Same with other species. And the truly great ones can fish all the species. I brought Mark on board Rob E's boat this year to fish the Pesky. Many don't know that Mark, in addition to being one of our very best local fisherman, was an extremely successful marlin fisherman back in the 80's and 90's before he just gave it up in the late 90's as other things took his time. I think Rob and I during the Pesky had the pleasure of basically spending one of Mark's first hours marlin fishing in about 8 years. We put him on the wheel and I learned more in an hour than I'd have thought possible. And I had a drop-back fish in the first hour that we got because of what he saw and what his instincts told him to do.
I don't know Greg Stotesbury at all, but my observations of him have been that, if it's in the ocean, he can catch it as well or better than about anybody else. I watched him (and his brother and wife) absolutely kick butt in this year's BAC masters (release lightline marlin tourney) in their boat which (while a nice rig) looks like a tender for most of the entry boats. He pulled a fish right out of our wake for pete's sake :-(. They caught 4 fish on 12 lb in 2 days. What does that involve? Only some of us understand...right bait in right general location...seeing fish others don't see...presenting bait properly...impeccable rigging that does not fail under extreme stress...perfect boat handling skills...great angling skills...years of experience to understand how to be patient when fighting a fish that totally outguns your tackle...and more.
There are other truly great fisherman that could be listed here - these are just a couple of examples based on my opinion (one known to me and one unknown).
No one will ever confuse me with one of these GREAT fisherman. However, I'm working hard on the elements I listed and I've improved alot over the years. I'm still lazier than I should be and don't keep a good logbook etc. But, I tend to find fish and then find a way to get them on board. But, I'm still mainly a recipe follower and just beginning to really develop some of those instincts that the great ones have. And I realize that I'll never have the same caliber of instincts they have...I just don't have that gene.Fortunately, I'm really good at some other stuff (and that stuff pays pretty well LOL!!).
My pure angling skills are pretty good. I've gotten much better in recent years at making key decisions about how to work a fish relative to my risks (structure, kelp etc.). Many feel that the hallmark of a good angler is the ability to "pull hard" on the fish and get him to the boat quickly...and that has some merit. For me, I've found that being patient can be a great quality in landing more fish when the situation allows for it (and many situations don't).
One memorable trip this year for me was a solo trip on my boat at Cat where I boated 25# and 29# yellowtails. Finding those fish, hooking them, great fights, gaffing solo...just a great memory. Still, I enjoy the group dynamic of fishing with close friends even more. And, most of all, I love to put my guests on fish!!
But I'll add that your question is a pretty broad one as the skill set (demands) on a private boater or commercial fisherman (especially those that fish solo) are much greater than they are as a passenger.
Note, this doesn't hold true in all cases, but in general they do fall into separate groups that are hard to measure against each other. Take Mark Wisch in Rob's example. Most of his fishing is solo..., and from the get go..., observing conditions, planning the hunt, prepping the boat, the gear, and successfully adapting to the situation when you arrive.
Mark will go out and consistently outfit the majority where he's fishing. Heâ??s also the kind of guy that comes to mind when someone mentions a good fisherman.
On the other end, you have guys who are just natural's on the rod and reel. Some are masters with the iron, some with bait, some with both and some guys for some reason, just have a natural connection with what ever is on the end of their line and they will consistently rank among the top anglers of what ever boat they are on. Yutaka is one of those naturals. He also comes to mind when someone mentions a good fisherman.
For me, fishing solo..., it's a great experience, doing the research, the rigging, spotting conditions and seeing that rod bend and decking or releasing a fish, but fishing with a group..., for me it becomes a group effort / experience and the good ones are rigging, spotting conditions and tending the lines / lures, but honestly the fishing is just one part of what I take home that day.
Going back to your questionâ?¦, I guess Long Beach Bob had it right to begin withâ?¦ the ability to sucessfully adapt to the prevailing conditions.
â??If your not part of the solution... you're part of the problem"