Not long ago I decided I wanted to introduce my boys to one of my favorite childhood hobbies: fishing.
Since I haven't gone fishing since high school, we took a trip to the nearby Field & Stream outdoor emporium to stock up on all the necessary gear.
Walking into the fishing section is really overwhelming.
As a kid I used to buy most of my fishing gear at WalMart.
There was ONE aisle of stuff to choose from—actually more like half an aisle.
Well, Field & Stream has at least 8-10 aisles just for different kinds of bait and lures (that's not including an entire aisle devoted to hooks, sinkers and bobbers).
There are lures with shiny spinners that whirl and twirl…
Fake frogs that look so real you almost expect them to start croaking…
Even battery-powered lures that shake and writhe to mimic a wounded minnow.
Gary Bencivenga, the “world's greatest living copywriter,” once gave a talk where he said:
“Most fishing lures are meant to sell the FISHERMAN, not the fish.”
But in order to catch a fish you have to think like a fish, not like a fisherman.
So as I was cruising the aisles trying to find the right bait, I did my best to ignore the packaging and the features that attracted ME.
Instead I was thinking about the fish.
I knew we were going to be catching sunfish. And sunfish are pretty small—about the size of your hand—which means they have tiny little mouths.
For another thing, the water at the lake is pretty murky. That meant whatever bait I used needed to scream for attention in as many ways as possible.
That train of thought led me to a jar of this bait that looks exactly like puppy chow—in dayglo yellow.
And it reeks of garlic.
This stuff looks pretty gross—not at all what I'd have bought if I wasn't “channeling my inner fish.”
Now to test it out…
At the lake, I gave my 4-year-old a few pieces to toss in the water.
(Naturally the first thing he asks is whether HE can eat it.)
As soon as those little bits of neon stink hit the water, the fish LOSE THEIR MINDS.
They're pushing and shoving and slamming into each other every time they hear a little “plop.”
And when I drop the line in the water, I'm watching them actually fighting with each other for who gets the “privilege” of getting hooked next.
“Think like a fish, not a fisherman” indeed.
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To register for the training, go here: