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Stan's Corner 

Fishing Handicaps

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Part 1
They do indeed have a good bit in common.

If youíve followed my Stanís corner columns over the years youíve seen me say before that fishing and golf have a good bit in column.  These next two columns are aimed especially at the guys who fish for bass but also apply equally in many other areas of piscatorial endeavor.

If youíre at all familiar with golf you know the important part handicaps play in that popular sport.  You donít hear it mentioned where fishing is concerned but by golly I think maybe it should be.  Anybody who has been around golfers much has undoubtedly heard them mention handicaps.

Sometimes I think there should be handicap ratings for those of us who fish.  Think about it for a minute.  Do you have weaknesses in your own approach to fishing?  Did I hear you say ďNo way!Ē

Piranha and Bass

Even in the Amazon you'll wind up doing a better job of fishing if you have both level wind reels and spinning outfits.  Have you always thought the piranha was a small fish about the size of a bluegill?  Wrong!  That's a giant black piranha I'm holding in my right hand.  This one weighed almost three pounds.  That's a small peacock bass I have in my left hand.

Well, maybe you do and maybe you donít.  I have my share.  My guess is you do too.  Sometimes these handicaps canít be controlled, sometime they can.  Way too often Iíve met fishermen who create or contribute to their own angling handicaps.

My own lifetime pursuit of bass comes immediately to mind.  I canít, for example, now stand in the bow of my bass boat for long hours as I did earlier in life.  A pair of artificial knees now precludes that kind of joint stress.  Thatís a handicap all by itself, but it poses a couple of other problems that arenít as readily apparent.

There are times, many of them, when the ability to present a bass lure with the flipping method might determine whether or not I put fish in the boat.  Itís far easier to flip from a standing position than it is while seated.  I still flip some sitting down, but nowhere near as effectively as I did while standing.  Thatís handicap Number Two.

pad cover

You're handicapping yourself if you can't handle a sturdy bait casting outfit when you're after bass in this kind of cover.

I could add a number of other things that handicap my personal fishing endeavor to one degree or another, but you get the point.  If you give it some thought I think youíll agree darn near all of us have handicaps that tend to reduce our fish-catching ability one way or another.

Consider the not uncommon guy who wonít consider using anything but a white skirt color on a dandy bait like the Mackís Lure Stanís Spin spinnerbait.  Thatís a handicap?  You can bloody well bet it is, partner!  Iím not putting down a white-skirted Stanís Spin, it happens to be one of my favorites.

But my favorite might not be the same as that of those scaly boogers finning around out there in the submerged timber.  They change their mind as often as your mother in law.  Sometimes a black skirted spinnerbait will out fish one thatís white big time.  If you continue to throw the same color bait, hour after hour without results, be it a Stanís Spin or something else, your angling handicap is bound to increase.


The fly rod or a light spinning ourtfit was ideal in the mountains of Argentina.  I shot this picture when I had an opportunity to spend a  couple of weeks in that beautiful part of the world.

Some handicaps, like my artificial knees, we canít do a blessed thing about.  But what puzzles me is those not uncommon anglers who just go on accepting handicaps they can control.

Consider the fishermen I hear all the time who say they have no use for level wind reels.  ďI just donít like the bleeping things,Ē they snort.  ďI never could learn how to use one.  All I ever got was backlashes.  Spinning gear works a lot better anyhow.Ē

That, of course, is so much nonsense.  Sure spinning gear is an excellent choice some of the time.  But there are other times, many of them, when a level wind reel and a casting rod are far superior.  Remember now, weíre talking only about bass fishing.

So where does that leave the guy who canít handle a bait casting reel in his search for bass?  It leaves him with a big fat handicap and donít kid yourself that it doesnít.

Level Wind Reel

Not learning how to use a level wind reel is like a golfer with only a putter and a driver in his bag.  But don't kid yourself, it does take practice to learn how to handle this super fishing tool.  Do it and I guarantee you won't regret it.

Iíve just touched on a few of the handicaps so common among those of us who love to fish.  Some you can change and some you canít.  In my next column weíll look at some of the other ways you can lower your personal angling handicaps and increase the odds of putting fish in your boat.

-To Be Continued-



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