Fishing With Kenny: Where Old School and New School Meet
article by Kenny Covington
I am considered an “old school” fisherman. By the term “old school” I mean I don’t like modern technology. I am reluctant to try new techniques. I am leery of the modern advances to new tackle. I keep things as simple as possible, do what I do well within my comfort zone while I am on the water.
Now, that being said, I will now contradict myself. I have learned that not all new fishing related technology is bad. Many of today’s newer techniques are simply tweaks on things we have done for years. I believe the modern advances in fishing tackle has made the sport better and more enjoyable.
By now you may be wondering “What does he mean by old school/new school?” I am going to try and give you some examples that will help you understand this a little bit better.
I remember when a Lew’s Speed Stick, when paired up with an Ambassadeur 5000 reel, was considered top of the line when it came to bass fishing enthusiasts. The one rod/reel setup that does it all. You couldn’t hardly tear either of them up. Recently I found just such a combo and once I picked it up, I couldn’t believe how heavy it was and realized the discomfort that had to have come from throwing it all day. How things have changed.
Today’s rods and reels are lighter, more user friendly and even the less expensive ones are of decent quality. I am not saying they are better but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Comfort, technique specific, sensitivity, and even eye appeal are part of the rod and reel buyer’s guide. However, the mass production process tends to make things less durable leading to buyer frustration which creates battle lines over brand loyalty.
The first real change, technique wise, in bass fishing to come along was “flipping.” Angler’s had been casting for years and someone figured a way to place a lure in specific areas where basic casting wouldn’t work. It’s the same original idea, just a different tweak on the presentation no matter what modern lure you use.
Once a buzzbait was introduced around this same time, it was under consideration to be banned from tournaments because it caught too many fish. Looking very much like a spinnerbait the buzzer gave horizontal presentations a new identity. And a new way to catch giant bass. Now it seems the Whopper Plopper is the rage, I wonder where that idea came from.
The Carolina rig took the fishing world by storm when the Bass Master’s Classic was won in the early 80’s with it. Called a “do nothing” technique at the time the Carolina rig had been around for decades but was used mostly for catfishing with the hook being placed above the sinker. Same technique just a basic tweak. Not surprising is the younger anglers prefer using a drop shot.
See what I mean by “Old school vs. new school?”
I can go on and on. Nothing is really new. A shakey head was once called a jig head worm. A Yellow Magic is another version of a Pop R. All creature baits are a offspring of the first creature bait called a Lizard. A craw worm is a craw worm is a craw worm. Nothing is new. It’s just taking something old and making it new to someone else.
When it comes to fishing technology such as depthfinders, trolling motors and other accessories, there is no limit to how far these advances will go. Fishing in deep water is quickly becoming more video game like than actual fishing. Anglers can see the fish they are trying to catch, watch the fish move and feel the actual strike the moment they see the contact on the screen. It’s amazing.
The younger anglers, being more open minded to change, have adapted very quickly because of the information that is available to them. Technology has made them better anglers much quicker. Because of the accessibility of the information, what took years to learn, they can do in a matter of days or weeks or even a few hours.
OLD SCHOOL LOGIC VS. NEW SCHOOL MENTALITY.
At a tournament recently, as I sat and watched the weigh in, I caught myself looking at all the people standing around and I only recognized a handful of the participants. A young man walked up to me and said, “Mr. Kenny how did you do today?” After I responded with my answer I politely asked, “May I ask you your name because I don’t recall meeting you before.”
After he told me his name he followed with, “….years ago you used to fish against my father.” As I watched this young man walk away and drive off in a modern day spaceship called today’s bass boat, it occurred to me that old school and new school had once again crossed paths.
Be careful on the water, catch one for me, and I will see you next month