The Transition from Finesse to Power

I love to use finesse gear.  In fact, I'm certain a few hundred dollars are now in other pockets because of this love.  So it is with some trepidation that I put my finesse gear aside and become a "Power" fisherman.    

My basic definition of Power fishing is anything that requires 15lb plus line (usually braid), and heavy artillery (Big Jigs, Crank baits, Spinner baits, Big Worms) and cover acres of water.  The entire contest is usually a hook set and wench the bucket-mouth out of his/her home into the boat with little to no fanfare.  And, in some cases, your rod will even bend provided your quarry is bigger than 5+lbs.   

Every year around February 1st I begin to go through a transition much like the bass.  I put into storage my spinning gear and light line and roll out the baitcasters and mega-rods.  This year hit me particularly hard because the change was overnight.  The fish I was catching went from solid to small in the course of one week and I made the decision to fish big.  The haunting part to this was my two biggest largemouth; a 12.8 and 11.1 were both caught on 6lb test using 4-inch worms.  One was caught in January and the other was in June.  This is the crux of my dilemma.     

As I discussed this transition with my tournament partner, a highly skilled Power fisherman, it came down to one simple realization...if you want to win in any month after December you need to fish big.  He eloquently explained to me that there is no doubt small, light gear, can catch huge fish, but usually not enough to win a tournament.  Big gear tends to catch big fish and more of them.  When you consider we increased our five fish bag from ten plus pounds to seventeen plus in less than a month the choice becomes easy.   

The essence of fishing is finding joy in what you're doing, and clearly, tournament angling tests the joy part in many instances.  Yet, as I cast aside my spinning gear and light line for another season I do so knowing I'm leaving some of my personal joy at home.  Upon further contemplation tournament angling is about one thing, winning.    

So, when confronted by which way to go ask yourself two questions:   

Am I fishing a tournament?   

What techniques bring you the most joy?   

How you answer these questions will determine just how far into the closet you place your finesse gear.    

Stay safe and take a kid fishing.