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Life’s lessons apply in fishing, also

Many years ago, in much simpler times, I learned a life lesson that resonates across the board in so many areas of our lives.

The lesson is one that many of us learned long ago. It is this: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

It is a lesson that applied in all of the activities I was entrusted to perform as a young person. Whether I was washing dishes, cutting grass or playing baseball, I knew the expectations were that I was to give it 100 percent.

It’s a good lesson — and it applies to fishing just as much as to life’s more important work.

As I tied on lures in preparation for a recent fishing outing, I decided to give it my all. It hit me between the ears. I decided the excursion was worth doing right.

I was heading out on waters that I knew pretty well. They are golf course ponds in Naples, Fla., that support a good population of largemouth bass and are limited to fishing only by those who go on foot. In essence, that means large sections of the perimeter of the bass ponds see relatively little fishing pressure.

The conditions were good for tossing a popping plug for cruising largemouths. The sky was partly cloudy and a light breeze blew in from the south.

I could easily have spent an hour trudging the nearby banks and casting the topwater lure. I probably would have caught a bass or two, but my mind was telling me to invest the effort necessary to trek out to the wind-blown shorelines across the complex of ponds.

Experience and fish sense told me those waters would be where the bass were most active. If I was going to go fishing, I might as well do it right.

As it turned out, I made a good decision.

After a short walk out to the windy bank, I started working the popper aggressively in the chop. Within a few minutes, a chunky largemouth splashed at the bait and I set the hook. The 15-incher jumped twice and fought hard.

My dividends compounded over the ensuing 90 minutes as my well-chosen location provided numerous strikes from the bass that had herded baitfish against the cover facing into the breeze.

The topwater lure was the perfect pick. The bass showed their approval with big strikes and lots of them.

Looking back, as I settled in to write this week’s column, I can see the importance of the mental commitment I made to walk a little longer instead of settling on the water that was more easily accessed.

I could have taken the easy option. But the extra effort paid off and proved yet again that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

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