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COMMENTS BY KIM: Casting my life away

Crazy habit revealed

Guilty on all counts. Make that guilty of counting. But hey, nobody’s perfect.

What I am talking about is my habit of counting every cast I make while fishing. Sounds pretty crazy and meaningless, right? Hang on a moment now. Don’t rush to judgment here, although I wouldn’t blame you if you did. I mean, who is goofy enough to keep precise track of such things? Well, I am that goofy.

Why would I do such a thing? Well, dear reader, let me attempt to justify my weirdness.

When I first starting counting each toss of a lure, many years ago, I did so in silence. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t really know why I was counting casts. It was kind of like a tune or song that gets stuck in your head. I certainly didn’t want to admit it to anyone whose first reaction might be to fish with someone else rather than someone who might also jump over every crack on a sidewalk.

Counting casts with accuracy, including what was the number of the cast I caught fish on, was becoming too much for me, not easy when mixed in with regular conversation with other fishermen in the boat. I remember a few weird looks when I would announce that I caught a fish on cast number 39 or 178. At first fellow fishermen thought it humorous and didn’t take it serious, which was fine by me.

Later though, as I repeated such claims on subsequent fishing trips, others began to realize I wasn’t kidding. In time, as a courtesy which allowed me to engage in uninterrupted conversation, I would wear a clicker around my neck. Pretty slick. It enabled me to push a button and enter each cast while not having to remember the count while also engageing in friendly conversation. When catching a fish all I had to do was look at the clicker to see what number cast I was on.

Now, before you proclaim this to be completely useless information and a waste of time on the water, let me at least formulate a defense for my admittedly odd habit.

First, my fishing consists completely of artificial lures. I enjoy casting for northern pike, smallmouth bass, and muskies. Of course, other fish like walleye and catfish are caught too. In 2020 I made 14,446 casts in 55 days on the water, an average of 262.7 casts per outing. 10,847 were made in freshwater and 3,959 in saltwater.

My infatuation with counting casts, and my written record of them, has provided me with some interesting information. The fewest casts I made on a single fishing trip was 88, but that was an evening fish when I had trouble with a clogged fuel filter on my outboard and chose to get off the water earlier than I had intended.

My highest cast total for a single outing was 550 on July 12 at Lake Audubon. Incidentally, I caught no fish. None! Just a week earlier I caught three very nice muskies and one good northern pike in 43 casts in the same area. On July 16 I made another 310 casts on Audubon and went fishless.

Add ’em up. That was 860 casts on consecutive fishing trips with zero fish.

Obviously, the fish had moved or my presentations were worn out. I just didn’t fully realize it until I looked at my cast stats. Armed with that information I was able to put an end to my futility. Two days later I changed things up and managed two muskies and two excellent pike in just 185 casts. I hope I learned to never again to be so stubborn and go nearly 900 casts without recognizing a change needed to be made.

I discovered a few other interesting and informative bits of information in my seasonal record of casts as well. But, being the fisherman I think I am, or wish I was, I am keeping those tidbits to myself until I have a clearer understanding about what they might actually mean. And, yes, I’ll be doing that quirky clicker thing again this year. You can count on it.

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