As our world becomes increasingly sophisticated, even activities like fishing can become complicated.
Companies that cater to anglers continue to develop new rods, reels, lures and electronics that become "musts" in our fishing equipment.
It's good, however, to sit back and consider whether we've got the basics covered before we jump headfirst into the complicated abyss. I do this from time to time and find it helps keep the array of available tactics in perspective.
Try this exercise: Ask yourself what you would take to the lake if you were limited to just one rod-and-reel outfit and just one kind of lure. Here's what I'd decide:
For inland reservoir walleyes, I would take a medium-action spinning rod spooled with 8-pound-test fluorocarbon line.
To tease the 'eyes into biting, I'd tie on a 1/8-ounce chartreuse jig dressed with marabou feathers. I'd add a fathead minnow to sweeten the deal and use a drift-and-cast approach.
Walleye anglers have dozens of options in tactics and lures, but the good old jig-and-minnow is what I'd select if I were forced to decide on one technique.
Bass anglers have even more choices. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, topwaters, spoons and soft plastics in hundreds of sizes, styles and colors.
But if I had to take just one rig to the water for largemouth bass, it would be a 71/2-foot flipping stick, 17-pound-test fluorocarbon line and a 4-inch green pumpkin tube rigged on a 3/0 wide gap hook and 3/16-ounce bullet sinker.
Day in and day out, bass anglers can count on finding a few bass hiding in thick cover in shallow water. Sure, you'll catch largemouths on all the other lures, but if it boiled down to just one tactic, I'd opt to flip for them.
Even crappie anglers have a myriad of choices. Tiny spinners, mini plugs, jigs and spoons all catch crappies.
But for the one-rig exercise, I'd take a 5-foot ultralight spinning outfit with 6-pound-test mono and a 1/16-ounce chartreuse jig, to which I'd lip-hook a 1-inch minnow. Dabble this around brush, docks and pilings and just about any crappie in the neighborhood will be interested.
Fortunately, we aren't limited to one choice when we go fishing. But it's good to understand the tried-and-true basics are still the best options.