MAYBE you can beat the "dock talk"

One of the things we’re all schooled about is giving much credence to “dock talk”–that sometimes unattributable, unsubstantiated buzz that seems to increase when a tournament comes to town. The great danger it affords is such disinformation can dilute your focus from the things (patterns and methods) you have developed on your own.

And why is it so enticing? Dock talk stems from plausible and occasionally valid reports, but gets mixed with just enough speculation, it sounds so good. In fact, in a different situation, waterway or season, those phantom ideas might be stone cold factual.

But as all the serious competitors will tell you, by the time the flag drops on the first day of a tournament, it’s too late to chase. However, most of the fodder for tournament “noise” is in the air all year long, and sometimes it appears on waters far removed from a venue on your tournament calendar. If you can detect its presence early enough, you may make it work for you.

As I’ve given this some thought, I have decided my memory is not good enough to retain all the gems or even phantom gems I hear (or experience) during the year.  So, to help myself, I’ve begun a file of  ideas, tips or lures that come up at various times of the year.

To make them more valuable to me, however, I not only list the “tip,” I fill in where and under what circumtances was it being used (such as event, time of year, water level or temperature) and then I go a step further. I make a note as to other possible places or situations I might use it or consider how some other lure with the same retrieve might also work.

A simple example might me: Fish a stop-and-go with a Road Runner on the dike at Lake Elsinore in April. In the spring, use two turns of the handle on the incline, 3 to 4 turns on the flat bottom. Possible option: Fish a three-inch shad on a peahead jig at DVL, same stop and fall.

The bottom line is, there is plenty of time during the year to experiment with speculative ideas. If you log those that you encounter, you may even get a sense of what is valid, what is just product promotion or what you can flat out disregard. Whatever. As they say, it’s all good.