To me, the big physical satisfaction in fishing isn’t as much the battle or landing the fish, it’s the moment or two when you recognize a bite and react to it. The tiny slice of time from the BITE to a BENT rod.
The kicker is, that it’s not only the most satisfying moment, it also encompasses two of the most important physical skills in successful fishing.
- The ability to recognize a bite.
- A proper and effective hook set.
Item #1 might be described as a passive skill. Not as much something you’re actively doing, but your ability to sense something the bass did.
Is it all about a finely tuned sense of feel? Nah, there’s more to it than that. Way more. Many very successful anglers rely almost entirely on line watching to identify hits, rather than feeling them. But I’m a Braille fisherman, relying on feel as much as possible, and I still think it’s much more complex than merely feeling a bite. It’s developing an awareness for what your lure is doing underwater. Feeling around with the lure to find the high percentage spots. The spots where you automatically go from feeling for bottom changes/weeds/brush, etc, to anticipating a bite. I like a surface smash as much as the next guy. Maybe more. I like it when a fish hammers my jig so hard it almost hooks itself, too.
But what I really enjoy are what I call ESP bites. The bites you sense, but can’t really explain whether you felt something, saw the line jump, or just guessed right. The bites that separate the really good anglers from the decent anglers. I love swingin’ on a hunch and coming up heavy!
Item #2 on the list is the actual hook set. Getting all the force your tackle will endure to the hook point as quickly and suddenly as possible. When I snap my wrists, spin the reel handle and pull back with my arms in about a quarter of an instant after sensing or intuiting something that might have been a bite, and end up with the rod fully loaded and feel my cranked-down-tight drag give a little, it’s the ultimate rush in fishing as far as I’m concerned.