Mr. Lucky

I’m sure that if you’re like me, you usually have a routine that you go through on the mornings that you fish. Mine is typically the same— throw the rods in the truck, make sure my kayak is tied down properly and stop at the same corner store for the same cup of coffee. Like clockwork, I went through the same routine as I usually do and I don’t start to perk up until I get my coffee. After my first sip, I started to layout my game plan and turned up the volume on my radio. The first song that came across my radio was an old blues song by John Lee Hooker called “Mr. Lucky”.

After listening to it, my mind began to veer from my game plan and onto the subject about luck. I then started to think about if luck is a factor that could affect the outcome of how an angler’s day goes. If you happen to stick to your plan and catch a mess of fish, is that luck or just being experienced? Because I know good and well that everyone of us has had a solid plan and followed it to a T, only to catch a handful of fish or any at all. Which, in that situation, brings up the another question— is that bad luck?

As funny, or random as the subject may seem, it does get your mind thinking about past trips that happened to be more than productive than others. Usually, there is one split moment that changes your whole day for the better… or for the worse.

I remember a few years back, my buddies and I decided to go fish Sabine Lake on a Sunday afternoon. We were to busy to go in the morning so figured, why not make a evening out of it. As we were getting prepared to launch, I look up and notice a group of gulls tightly bunched up on the south end of the lake. We quickly pushed off the bank and made no less than a minute paddle directly towards them. It didn’t take long before we had our limit of trout but we continued to catch fish until we were tired. On top of the monumental day, we were the only anglers on the water that afternoon. When looking back on it, there was no expert decisions that went into that day; it was purely by luck that we were there.

Then others times that I recall, are days paddling around on the flats of the marsh. There are plenty of redfish that I have caught tailing but the odds of me actually seeing them were slim. While paddling forward, I would catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. More times than not, it was the tip of a tail breaking the water’s surface. The tail would only be visible for a split second and then disappear quickly. Without a doubt, if I was not looking in that direction, that fish would of gone undetected and I never would of known it was there. Is that being vigilant or just getting lucky while looking in the right direction at the right moment? Also with situations like this, I wonder how many tailing fish that we actually never saw!

Another factor where luck could come into play is on tournament day. I’m sure that most competitors would agree that the days that put you on the podium, or took you off, has to do with a little luck. I recall a few years back that I was going into day 2 of the Elite Kayak Redfish series with a 5 lb. lead. I went directly back to the same pond that I caught my fish in the day before. As soon as I entered the pond, a school of 10+ fish were heading my way. I cast directly into the middle and pull out a fish that was barely legal. After catching at least 20 fish that day, I ended up heading to the scales with 2- 20” redfish and got 2nd. Luck was just not with me on that day.

Here recently, the Upper Coast Kayak Anglers held their first tournament, which consist of a single heaviest slot redfish. I tried my best that day and only brought in a 7 lb. fish that was good enough for 6th. However, the winner was James Garner, who weighed in a impressive 9.5 lb. slot redfish and had the .5 lb. live bonus which put him at a whopping 10 lbs. After talking to him at the scales, he told me about his day and it seemed that it went in exactly his favor. He told me that he went directly to his ‘A’ spot and found that he had been beat to it, so he decided to move. He quickly switched to plan B and it didn’t take long before he landed his first fish; a solid 7.5 lb. redfish and a great way to start the morning. His very next cast resulted in the behemoth that he won with. I’m not saying that James won on pure luck, because I know he is a great fisherman, but things lined up perfectly for him that day! If that other angler would of not been at his first spot, it could of potentially threw off the rest of his day, which could of resulted in missing a check. When it comes to tournaments, I honestly believe to be successful, you have to be skillful enough to put yourself in a ‘lucky’ situation.

Without a doubt, there are several factors that go into a days worth of fishing; I believe that luck is one that is often overlooked. In reality, it is something that every angler has encountered. It’s the “you should of been here yesterday” or being at the “right spot at the right time” viewpoint. No matter how you may look at it, when it comes down to it, I would rather be lucky than good!

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