Vol 6 No. 16 - January 11, 2006

The world's best resolution

By Rusty Chinnis

There are some books you wish you had written yourself. These books contain ideas and kernels of truth that set them apart from their genre. They ask readers to use their senses and delve deeper into their consciousness, using common sense and powers of observation to develop a clearer understanding of their subject. "Catching Made Easy," by Captain Rodney Smith, is one of these books.

The average angler is constantly asking questions, reading magazines and books and watching television to glean information on new places to fish, hot new lures and flies and tackle that will help him catch more fish. In truth, superior anglers are made not born, and get that way by spending time on the water by developing awareness and recording the tides, weather, winds and habits of the species that they hunt.

“Catching Made Easy”has four sections — planning. tackle, fishing and catching.

While there are innumerable books on the market that tell anglers what to use, where to go and what to look for, precious few get to the real heart of what makes a good angler great. Smith, a former guide, writer, publisher and ardent environmentalist has written a book that not only shares humorous anecdotes from decades of being on the water, but challenges the reader to think, be prepared, have a plan, use intuition and keep an open mind.

The book is broken down into four sections: planning, tackle, fishing, and catching. In section one, Planning, Smith asks the reader/angler to decide what he wants from his fishing. Is he looking for relaxation, time with the family or is he interested in competing with other anglers in tournaments? What’s the big picture? This is a great place to start because fishing parallels life. We wouldn’t build a house without a set of plans. He asks the reader to establish a direction, set new goals and then strive to meet them. This big picture also includes preparedness, patience, having a game plan and paying attention to what your intuition tells you.

My favorite chapter in this section covers the effects of the moon and tides on fishing. In a simple and concise way, Smith explains the basic relationship between moon, tides, and their effect on fishing. Next he covers hot spots, a discussion that’s not what you expect, but one that will improve every angler’s odds. Finally Smith covers one of the most important concepts for all anglers’ to learn — CPR, or catch, photograph and release.

In section two, Tackle, he includes chapters you find in other books on fishing, with some unique perspectives on using common sense when selecting tackle. Knots, lines and rigging are often taken for granted by neophyte anglers, however, Smith explains their importance and how they will turn odds into opportunities. The chapter on jigs gives an in-depth look at a lure most anglers consider the best of the best. The section ends with a discussion of taking care of the considerable investment you’ll have in tackle.

The heart of the book, Section three, Fishing should be read and re-read. It deals with many of the tricks of the trade learned over a lifetime of fishing. It begins with a wise council for anglers to keep an open mind while on the water. You might be targeting redfish, but keep your eye out for other species that might present a tight line and unexpected pleasure. This section also includes chapters rich with invaluable tips on reading the water, fishing points, pockets and passes, as well as fighting and landing the fish of a lifetime.

His final section on Catching, is a little misleading, as Smith has already plumbed the depths on finding and catching fish. Instead, Catching offers valuable information on handling your catch, dealing with hooked birds and being aware of painful creatures, like stingrays, jellyfish and catfish. The book ends with a discussion of exploring the world of fishing, living your dreams and the importance of every angler being a steward of the incredible resources that sustain our fisheries.

Log on to www.catchingmadeeasy.com for a copy of the book. Read it, digest the contents and you’ll catch more fish and have more fun doing it.

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