I’m guilty of being cerebral. When I approach a lake I’ve fished or know little about, I typically have a plan in mind that is carefully formulated. Sometimes that works but I’m learning when not to do that and to trust my gut. I would have saved myself three hours on Belleville Lake if I would have gone with instinct.
Back in May I was on Belleville Lake for the first time ever and I didn’t catch a single fish in five hours. There were tons of other guys around me (often times a sign that I’m in the wrong spot) but they weren’t catching anything either. I left the lake dejected and wondering what went wrong. At least I learned something that day; I learned what I was doing and where I was, didn’t work.
Fast-forward to this past week. I launched in a different area and fished different depth zones with a lipless crank bait, Texas rigged worm, and a dropshot. I marked a ton of fish and could see them following my dropshot rig but didn’t get a single bite. I felt uncomfortable with what I was doing and all signs pointed to the fact that I was trying to force the situation. I then gave into my instinct, crossed the lake, and started using a bait that I actually lost some confidence in this year but for some reason, I threw it anyway. On the first cast, a small smallmouth was hauled in. On the second cast, a second. Within minutes my confidence was restored and I began kicking myself for not trusting my instinct. I got many more bites that day and I learned just as much catching fish as months before when I hadn’t brought any to the boat.
Instincts are there and they need to be acted upon; a very valuable lesson.