Comfort Zone

I consider myself a bass fisherman. I'm an equal opportunity fisherman, and am happy to catch any species. However, I know bass best. This time of year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources dictates bass off-limits for inland waters. I am also intimately familiar with multi-species hot spots in my local reservoir. In addition, I have recently chosen a kayak as my primary fishing vessel over my Jon boat. I have also chosen to connect with fellow kayak angers via social media. Today, the comfort zone of my species, local reservoir, and fishing partner were abandoned. This morning I targeted panfish and rough fish on a new lake with a new fishing partner. It. Was. A. Blast. Sure, I was not properly prepared, as my new fishing partner was, with minnows. However, it was a new experience. I enjoyed the new waters, meeting a new fellow kayak angler, and learned a few things about fishing. The most important is to have the proper bait for the species and conditions. The second is a crappie rig with crappie minnows will outfish nightcrawlers.

To be honest, today was hard. The conditions were great. My FeelFree Lure and Bending Branches Angler Pro were amazing. However, my Garmin Striker 4DV immediately reported a water temperature a majestical 52 degrees. This is the temperature that triggers the largemouth bass spawn. My heart skips a beat as I look at my baitcaster while yearning for the bass tackle trays I left in my vehicle. Floating a FeelFree Lure on a 70 degree day, with 52 degree water, with a Quantum baitcaster, with 50 lb. braid, with bass trays in the car is like driving a Formula 1 car in a funeral procession. It is difficult. However, I was going to make the best of the trip. Sure, I got skunked with my nightcrawlers. I missed some big bites while my new fishing friend hauled in nice crappie. However, it was a beautiful day. I had great equipment, and was able to enjoy new scenery. My new fishing friend also did well with a nice haul of crappie.

I look forward to fishing with the same company at the same lake again in the future. But tomorrow I am obligated to return to my comfort zone to get the skunk off of me. What I learned today, I will teach my children. Step outside your comfort zones in life. If you don't, you'll never learn. You'll never meet new people and open new doors. If I had never stepped outside of my comfort zone in my day job of IT, I would have never reached the professional levels I find myself today. It can be difficult, but step outside your comfort zones. You'll thank yourself...