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Friday, August 29, 2014

Catching fish all about keeping things simple

COLUMN: I may have been in high school, grad school, or perhaps a coach’s clinic the first time I heard the principle Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). After hearing the KISS principle many times, I realized that it is a great concept but keeping it simple is hard to do for some people. When I would hear the acronym used, I remember thinking, “I got this. I was raised by Chester B. Drewrey from Denmark.”We grew all the vegetables that our family of 10 ate. When my father said, “We’re about to hoe the garden”, he wasn’t including himself. My siblings and I were expected to carry out the task at hand without his assistance. I received hoeing instructions from him only once. My father proved to be a great teacher because his instructions were always simple to follow and easy to understand. My father never complicated anything. I have found that the people I grew up around were experts at keeping it simple, though they had never heard of the catchy KISS concept. They understood that there is sophistication in simplicity.

For instance, I coached baseball at Water Valley for 10 years. After playing Lafayette one day, I was standing around talking to Perry Arrington, Steve Beckham and Steve White. They smiled and told me that they had finally figured out my signals. If I squatted, I wanted the base runner to steal. If I had my arms crossed, I wanted the batter to bunt. They continued to have fun, confident that they were letting me know they had figured out my system. If I placed my hands behind my head, that meant hit and run. I laughed and told them they had surely figured out the great mysteries, only my system wasn’t that complicated.

A few years later, I told Steve Beckham that the truth of the matter was if I wanted a player to bunt, steal, or hit and run, I just called his full name. I assured him that if I rubbed my arm, it was itching. If I dusted my pants, they were dirty.

The same is true with fishing. People want to complicate fishing. Everybody wants the biggest, fastest boat with the best fish finder. Fancy equipment as well as a set of good binoculars are high on the fisherman’s wish list. I’m as guilty as the next person of being mad because the lake is low. I’ve complained that it’s too muddy, too windy, and that recent rain has caused too much fresh water. However, the water temperature is increasing, the lake level is rising, and recent rains are putting water on the structure in shallow water.

Keep it simple.

History tells us that nature will take its course. The crappie will spawn in shallow water. They will protect their beds and bite anything that you put in front of them. For three or four days, everyone is a good fisherman. The truth of the matter is you can sit on a five gallon bucket on the bank of the Tallahatchie River with a cane pole and catch more crappie than you want to clean if you’ll just wait until they spawn.

Remember, it really is simple. You don’t have to be smarter than the other fishermen. You just have to be smarter than the fish. (March 17, 2011, Page 7)

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