Who are you working for?

Inspiration comes in many forms. It can be a simple act, a phrase, possibly a quote or a full bore sequence of events that provides those who are witnesses, the fortitude to take action. In a recent conversation with a good buddy, the simple approach came to the forefront in the form of the phrase. During our conversation, he mentioned it once in our back and forth dialogue and it stuck in my mind not only that day, but perpetually all weekend. To make matters worse the reminders were so evident, it was like housing the Goodyear blimp in my tiny backyard. As a result, I finally decided to take the time necessary and put it into word format and share it as a blog post.

The conversation was simple. We talked about life, caught up on how things were going, and as we shifted topics to future plans, the phrase aforementioned, surfaced.

He said, “Man it is much easier to “work with” than “work for” someone…isn’t it?” My response, “Yeah man, that’s the truth.” It was something that simple, but it was profound, and the more I reflected on it, the more it became clear. It’s about leadership and followership.

Having been in the military for almost 10 years, I’ve experienced leadership. I’ve worked for good and bad leaders, but for the most part have seen far more good leaders than bad. Actually, I’ve seen more great leaders than good, and what I’ve learned and witnessed is that great leaders are able to connect with their people. They do so by being in tune with them personally, which affords them to highlight their strengths, capitalizing on their capability, which empowers them for success. As a result, the leader has created a self-sustaining organization, with people that want to “work for” that particular leader, because he “works with” his troops. So what in the world does organizational leadership have to do with a fishing blog? Particularly to a speckled animal that swims around, eats, avoids being eaten and makes babies? Similarities, in life, often extend way beyond the realm in which they are applied, and for me the notion of “working with and working for” applies not only in leadership, but into the fishing world. Let me explain…

I predominantly target speckled trout, and during certain times of the year I target “trophy trout”. In short, what I “work for” is consistently catching trout, particularly big trout, and as you may have been able to tell in my previous blog post, that is my passion. I love the skill, knowledge and techniques that are required for consistently producing big trout, and I’m a student every time I’m on the water, off the water and in dialogue with other fisherman who share my passion in their search for large trout. That said, not everyone’s “work for” is the same…others may include, catching more fish, targeting tournament fish or just simply getting bit more in hopes of filling the freezer. All are good, however, the success of what I “work for”, is due in large part of knowing what I’m “working with.”

I always compare trout fishing to putting together a puzzle. Some days the clues are easy and it takes little thought to being successful, similar to my 2 year old putting together a 5-piece Melissa and Doug animal puzzle, match the piece in the hand to the piece on the board…easy! However, some days, and those who have been there know these days, the puzzle is 10,000 pieces, and it takes a lot of creative thinking, ingenuity and overall intelligence to be successful and scratching out a limit or catching that trophy was more than a struggle. Keeping that in mind, like the puzzle, there are multiple pieces and putting them together adds to quick wins and overall success. For me, a person who avidly targets big trout, I “work with” these three things, which are the some of my bigger puzzle pieces I equate to above.

  1. I always work within my realm of confidence regarding lure choice. This means I’ll always have a jig, a topwater and a corky in my wading box, and in basic lure colors. Why? Because I have confidence, that once I put the puzzle pieces together regarding water temperature, clarity and depth. I will, notice how I say WILL, catch them on one of those lures. It’s not being arrogant, its having faith in your lure selection which is winning half the battle, particularly the one between the ears….which I think is most important.
    2.I always work with the weather. From wind to cloud cover, knowing your approach in certain types of weather will give you the advantage, and will put more fish on the end of your line. Additionally, this directly plays into #1 just mentioned. Let me give you an example, if the wind is blowing against the tide in a certain spot. I will always choose having the wind at my back…here’s why. I rarely stay on anchor, so if I’m in a boat, having the wind at your back increases your contact with your lure, and drifting to your lure provides a similar presentation to working your bait with the tide. Determining cloud cover, water temperature and depth, will dictate what part of the water column you will fish. Once you put those together, you will get more hits. Once you get more hits, zero in on why you’re getting hits and start catching.
    3.Lastly, I always work with the tide, unless I have a stronger than average wind…mentioned in #2. In TX, I’ve noticed that there isn’t a whole lot of tide, as a result much of the water movement generated is due to the wind. That being said, if in calmer conditions, I work my bait with the tide 10/10 times….its just natural. Predatory gamefish like trout, will almost always be facing the tide, waiting for an easy meal. A firm indicator of this is hook up ratio. If I’m fishing with the tide and I’m bringing my bait off a ledge, a trout will have the opportunity to engulf the bait which leads to “taps” and solid hooksets (bait down the throat). When fishing against the tide, the opposite will take place. Most of the time the bait will come from behind the fish and most bites will be more reactionary and leads to less than stellar hook sets and more fish coming off just before being landed. We call this a “short-strike”. If you’re experiencing this, adjust boat positioning and presentation. The good thing is that you know fish are present…which is certainly the main thing.

Without a doubt, fishing, like anything has its certain nuances, and although its a stretch to draw similarities between tricking a fish into eating a plastic imitation lure and organizational leadership, its remains clear that in whatever we choose to do we do for a purpose. So the next time your on the water or in the office always remember to work with whomever or whatever to achieve maximum results to whatever or whomever you're working for!

God bless and Tight Lines!

Chris