Dan Apodaca of La Verne, Calif. wrote: Thank you very much for sharing the information that you have gained over the years through your observations. Before you go seeking medical help for thinking like a fish, keep the thoughts flowing on paper. Your idea of fishing uphill gives angling from shore a certain advantage if casts can be fanned out from shore without a boat's shadow. Do you agree that there is a certain advantage to this?
An EVERYTHING MATTERS situation can be the result of a bad presentation.
Dan, Forget the shadows. If you've made a good presentation and the fish is locked into your bait, your shadow or even a 21-foot bass boat sitting in the water doesn't make a difference. By water displacement alone, bass know there is a large object floating out there. They know that your helpless-looking lure is heading in that direction. They know that any object in open water can help reduce the avenues of escape for their prey.
It's the same philosophy for a shore angler – the predators are using their environment to make food acquisition easier. So for now, don't worry about details like shadows, bright-colored clothing or any of the countless other things to which fisherman place importance.
Remember this and remember you heard it in the Big Bass Zone because this is the motto we live by: EVERYTHING MATTERS, YET NOTHING MATTERS.
If you've made a good presentation and a big bass is locked in, NOTHING MATTERS. A fish will swim through a wall of fire to eat your bait.
If things aren't quite right, EVERYTHING MATTERS. Now you should start thinking about the details - things like crouching down as the bait approaches your boat or the shoreline, shadows, bait tuning, line diameter, lure speed, cadence, directional changes or anything else that just might affect your success.
An EVERYTHING MATTERS situation can be the result of a bad presentation. The worse your presentation is, the more everything matters. Other times it's the weather, the water conditions or the mood of the fish.
As an angler, you have to recognize these two very different situations. Your goal should be to refine your presentations, learn from your experience and instinctively take care of the details. This goes double when pursuing big bass.
You also need to develop an unfailingly accurate crud detector – one that tells you when everything matters and when nothing matters. For example, if the bite is on for bigger bass, you'd better be running and gunning and hitting all of your key areas because when big bass go off, they go off everywhere and the window of opportunity is generally brief.
At other times, it isn't so obvious. Then, the details really do matter. Unfortunately, fishermen sometimes use the details to explain away lost fish and bad days.
The benefit of learning how to walk this tightrope of "everything matters, yet nothing matters" is owning your experience and information and not letting it own you.