Can You Bet On Sports In Wisconsin latest 2023

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"They Would Only Bite on This" and Other Anecdotal Bull That Prevents You From Catching More Fish

A buddy and I were ice fishing the other morning with not much luck at first. After about 30 minutes my friend peeked into my laptop shack and said “I switched to orange and BAM…two nice shits instantly.” I couldn’t resist because I hadn’t had any bites until now. I went from a red whip to an orange one and within a minute or two I had a few 11 inch crappie falling into the bucket. Then it cooled for half an hour and then I caught a few more. .. off… on… off until we leave. On the way home, I started to think that I probably shouldn’t have changed colors. The bite was hot-cold-hot-cold typical of traveling schools of crappie. Did the school pass by us around the same time we changed lures or did they really prefer orange that morning? I will never know for sure.

What makes fishing difficult (and also frustrating at times when you can’t buy a bite) is the number of variables that affect the bite. We all remember from algebra how difficult it was to find x, y and z. You can’t solve for z until you know x and y. I hate to put something I love, like fishing, in terms of something dreaded like algebra, but the equation a fisherman has to solve, to understand the eating habits of fish, has about 20 variables: and they change by the minute! Light, time of day, air temperature, water temperature, water depth, weed cover, bottom composition, location, time of year, wind speed, wind direction, water clarity, barometric pressure, forage, fishing pressure, spawning cycle, fish competition/density and moon phase (if you believe it) are conditions to consider. The bad news is that you can’t solve this equation. No one knows for sure the complex interplay of all these variables and how they affect and ultimately determine when and where a fish will feed, if at all that day. There will be days when they should bite, but they just won’t. The good news is we don’t have to predict when or where they will bite or even Why they bit.

We just need to get out there and fish, and when we’re successful, try different things, and then document the conditions as much as possible. Never, ever, just remember “this point is a good place for walleye” because 9 times out of 10 if the conditions are different, it won’t be. It’s hard to remember “on December 20, in 12′ of water, after 3 days of clear skies, walleyes were feeding heavily on this spot for about 1 hour before dark” so try writing it down in a journal on board. Remembering the exact date of success is important, but the seasonal cues are the most important thing to note. A season can be a week or two ahead or behind, depending on the weather, especially in the spring. The peak of the spring walleye run is not always March 23, for example. But I know for sure that smallmouth bass will bite in the rivers here when the cottony aspen seeds blow in the wind. Pay more attention to the conditions than the brand or color of lure you were using that day.

The key to catching more fish is to only remember the things that are really true and do our best to ignore anecdotal false conclusions. I’m not saying color doesn’t matter, but next time you hear “they would only bite on the yolk” translate that to “we tried a few colors but the first fish was caught on the yellow and no other color was ever tried after that”. Unfortunately, you really can’t learn anything from this information. Anecdotal evidence is the opposite of science and is often downright wrong. For example, anglers always talk about the barometric pressure, the phase of the moon, the color of the lure in cloudy weather. The funny thing is, no one can agree on how these things affect fish, not even the experts. Search the forums and the article online and you will find that about 50% say fishing when the barometer is down is best and the other half say fishing when the barometer is up is best. Half say use bright colors on clear days and half say bright colors on dark days. Why such a disparity? The reason for this is this: Someone had a great day fishing and mentally noted a lure condition or color and attributed it to why they caught a lot of fish. You will never change their opinion on this.

We are the same way about our vans. Some swear by Ford, Chevy or Dodge. Either you had a good experience with one or a bad experience with the other two, and no one is going to change your mind. You have to be statistically more reliable, but which one? I don’t know, but I bet that has changed since I made my decision. The thing is, anecdotal evidence can be wrong. However, statistics are only reliable when there are thousands of data points. Also, the scientific method requires that only one factor be changed and the other factors be strictly controlled and kept the same. When fishing for the day, many factors (remember the 20 factors mentioned earlier) constantly change throughout the day.

There’s a method I’ve used that seems to eliminate changing conditions and only tests one factor at a time. This method involves presenting the same fish with two choices of bait/lures and seeing which is preferred. I call it “side-by-side” testing and it’s easier to ice fish or troll than cast. When testing new ice fishing plastics, I fish with two lines in the same hole (Wisconsin allows three lines per person) about 5″ apart. I use the same line and the same jig fished at the same depth, but two different colors or styles of the After catching 30-40 fish this way, a preference may appear 30 on red and 5 on white is a clear preference.

You can use the same technique with tip-ups or tip-downs a foot apart or trolling with different colors of the same lure at the same depth about 2 feet apart. Side-by-side testing also works while bobber fishing. Do leachates work better than minnows? Find out by throwing two of the same bobber setups as close together as possible, one with a leach and one with a minnow. And the red brackets? They’re all the rage right now, but do they outperform silver hooks? Try side-by-side tests and let me know the results.

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