View Full Version : The ready position

10-17-2000, 02:44 PM
This time of year , its important to realize that the hunt is changing. Coming off several weeks of "we're going to catch a lot tonight" , we are now heading into "we're going to get a big one tonight" time. The biggest of the stripers will be migrating towards the south and the very biggest often come through our area one at a time and very late in the season. So what's the point?
The point is that you will be getting fewer chances to hook up but one of those remaining chances could be the "fish of a lifetime" and you don't want to mess up your big chance. So I thought it would be a good time to write about what I'm calling "The ready position". I could have called it "be alert" or "pay attention" but I believe getting into some details about how to be ready might stick in people heads a little better than just saying "be alert".
To me , being in the ready position means I'm balanced well on my feet , my rod is where I want it to be to react to a fish strike , I'm tracking the lure or bait every instant and my mind is "in the game" at all times. Its natural for your mind to wonder. You talk to people near you. You look at someone else landing a fish , you check you watch….there are a million things. Think back about how many times this year you missed a hit because you were talking to the guy next to you!! You have to be mentally alert or you are trusting your hard work to too much luck. Think fishing all the time you have a lure in play. I find that one thing builds on another. Having my mind very intense to sense a fish leads me to also get physically ready.
A well balanced , coiled body position is essential to being ready for the fish strike. For me it starts by standing with both feet firmly planted and always facing the lure. My body is preset or coiled to move the way I want when I get a hit. For example , if I'm jigging , the rod is down at about 25 degrees to the water and my muscles are set to lift the rod and set the hook instantly. When eeling however , My rod tip is up and my body is preset to drop the tip when I feel a strike. People develop there own little tricks to get an edge. One thing I like to do when eeling is purposely move my body forward as I reel in slowly. Sort of a slight but continuous bend at the waste. When I get too low , its quick up then start another cycle down. I do this because it gets my fat butt moving in the direction I need to go when a fish strikes. There is a natural tendency to "pull back" when a fish strikes. That's the wrong thing to do with an eel. Therefore I like to get my body going in the right direction ahead of time. With a jig , I like the totally steady balanced stance so I can quickly strike back with authority by raising the tip. I've come close to getting pulled right off the rock I'm on because I was alert enough to strike back at a fish that hits the lure but my whole body wasn't balanced and prepared and that first pull from a big fish is often very hard. Each person will develop there own way of being set and ready to react. While there may be some basics that everyone should follow , each person will develop there own method of being ready based on their own body mechanics. The important thing is to think about what you need to do ahead of time and get yourself set to do it.
In my opinion , staying mentally intense is the most important think for a fisherman and the hardest thing to do. How many times have you seen someone near you land a big fish and then you automatically react by bearing down and trying harder. Why wait till someone else scores? What I'm preaching here is that you should always strive to be in that alert mental state when you fish. Not just awake but intense. I admit its hard to do all the time.
I hope this makes people think about awareness and causes some to turn up the mental intensity a notch. The mental intensity will naturally lead you to be physically ready too. This time of year , you have a chance at a big fish. Don't miss your chance.

Got Stripers
10-17-2000, 04:41 PM
Good post and so true. I take a lot of people fishing with me over the course of a season and a lot of times they have to yell at me, because I'm not listening. I'm not listening because I'm paying close attention to what's happening at the other end of my line.

It's even more important with artificials, because a fish can spit out your offering quicker than you can react if your not ready to do so.

Good one, tight lines.

Marc Z
10-17-2000, 07:20 PM
Good post Saltheart, sometimes after casting deep into the night without a hit in a while my mind can wander causing me to miss a take. This post will keep me consious of not doing it!

10-17-2000, 07:29 PM
Hmmmm, that's some fine advice. I guess Yoga classes will help me with more than just my bad back. :)

10-18-2000, 08:55 AM
Maybe we should rename the site 'cause I know the feeling too. Actually, I like alot of what Saltheart said about keeping your head in the game. The mind likes to play little tricks when your thoughts wonder and make things pretty frustrating when you miss the hit you've been waiting for or just plain bumble that hit... Conditions permitting, I like to get in a position I can maintain (I've always had happy feet and need to move around a little :( ), close my eyes, and really try to see in my minds eye what is happening on the other end of my line. Eels or plugs or whatever, if it's moving, try to paint a mental picture on what is happening on the other end. Also, don't force into your mind what you want it to look like out there but what is really happening. I've tried to make a couple technique changes based on paying REALLY close attention...

Good words there Salty!!

10-08-2001, 05:21 PM

10-08-2001, 05:53 PM
Great post.'s even harder to keep your head when you've been deprived sleep for weeks, it's 40 degress out, your wet, you need a coffee, you gotta take a leak, and all you can think about is how well the heat works your pickup.....god I LOVE FISHING!

10-08-2001, 06:34 PM
It's too easy some times to lull yourself into a overly-relaxed state. Just need to keep reminding yourself of what you already know - stay sharp...

10-09-2001, 04:07 AM
Saltheart, well said. I know I look like a buffoon when I fish because ready for that strike and I'm hunched over waiting to lean back into it to really get that hook in deep.

This is one of the problems I see with guys around here, mainly the bait guys. They are dead sticking a rod and they'll go and use a lure rod or they'll turn their backs to the rods. Personally, I learned you gotta watch the rod at ALL times the hard way.

About 5 years ago, I was fishing the marina with my 8 footer casting bunker chunks at dusk. I cast my rod out and started looking at the rocks for rats. I felt someone tapping me on my shoulder. I told the kid to knock it off. Turns out, it was my rod doubled over hitting me in the shoulder. I lost that fish and I knew it was at least 35 inches.

Ya need to be on high alert the whole time and I very rarely take my eye off the tip of my rod, even when lure fishing when I know I'm going to feel it anyways.

10-09-2001, 09:41 AM
Glad this got bumped up again this year. Only thing I can add is that this is not advice for beginners only. This is advice that will help the best fisherman out there. Its something they already know but it helps to get reminded to reinforce good habits. If you are a beginner , the edge you will get from being hyper alert will translate into more fish. Its a hard descipline thing but it does seperate the better fisherman from the pack. I can't think of a single top fisherman who doesn't fish with a high degree of mental intensity.