Back to Basics with Brad Whitehead – Part 3 – Leaving the Shoreline
By Phillip Gentry
In the last of a three-part series, B’n’M ProStaff member Brad Whitehead imparts some wisdom for young anglers or those who are just getting started in the sport of fishing. So far, he has given pointers on where to fish from shore on public waters and where and how to break down farm pond fishing. This article, Whitehead says it is time to leave the shoreline in your wake and has some advice on getting started with fishing from a boat.
“Fishing from a boat opens so much more of the fishing world to an angler,” said Whitehead, “but I’m going to tell you, you don’t have to go spend a whole bunch of money getting started. It is better if you learn as you go and then you can buy better boats, equipment, and tackle as you learn more about how to fish. Too many people get in over their heads and end up not liking to fish because the cost is so high.”
Whitehead broke down getting started in fishing from a watercraft into three basic categories – you can fish with someone else who owns a boat, you can buy your own boat and use it, or you can get into something like a canoe or kayak that doesn’t cost that much to get started and will open up more water to you.
Whitehead began his lifelong fishing career from meager beginnings, with this used 15-foot john boat powered by a 25 horsepower till steer outboard motor. Photo courtesy Brad Whitehead.
Option 1 may sound easy and it is to an extent. You may know someone who already owns a boat and just wants the company or shared expenses. Whitehead said that is how he got started.
“Brian Barton, another B’n’M angler on the catfish staff, he was my biology teacher and he invited me to start fishing bass tournaments with him when I was about 15 years old,” said Whitehead. “I learned a little bit each time we went out and it wasn’t long before I got my first boat. I will never forget it. It was a 15-foot john boat with a 25-horsepower tiller steer motor. I had to have a motor so I could fish on Pickwick.”
These days, the best way to meet boating anglers is to join a fishing club. Many of these clubs form around a social media page and hold outings or tournaments and encourage new anglers to get involved with what they are doing.
A fishing boat is essentially just another piece of gear designed to help you catch fish. It does not matter how basic or how complex the boat is – the end result is learning how to catch fish from it.
The second option is to buy your own boat. Whitehead again reiterated that it is not about how nice or how expensive your boat is, it’s about using it as a tool to learn more about how to catch fish.
“You’ve heard the phrase “Time On The Water””, he said. “That’s how you get to be better at fishing. You put time in on the water. You make a lot of mistakes. You try something different. You learn from those mistakes. Other anglers can only tell you so much. A lot of being a successful fisherman is learning how to use that tool, that boat, to find and catch fish.”
Fishing kayaks are a relatively new method for leaving the shoreline and can be used in just about any body of water imaginable.
Option 3 is relatively new to the fishing world in some ways. Whitehead said it is a sign of changing times and technology and as long as it gets people fishing, he’s all for it.
“When I was a kid, 99% of the time we’d fish out of an old john boat,” he said. “Today, new anglers or kids can go into about any sporting goods store and come out with a fully functioning fishing kayak. Most of these kayaks weigh less than 100 pounds and they’ll fit in the bed of a pickup truck.”
Whitehead said learning to fish from a kayak is a natural step in the learning process.
“Before, we talked about finding places to fish from the bank or how to find a farm pond to fish,” he said. “Well now, you take that bit of information you learned and now you can drag a kayak into those same exact spots and start fishing right where you left off fishing from the bank.”
At B’n’M we’re all about fishing. From winning national level fishing tournaments to helping new anglers catch their first fish, B’n’M is there with you, every step of the way. Visit our website at bnmpoles.com to find out more.
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