Know When to Hold Em, and Know When to Fold Em by John Liechty, Page 2

Know When to Hold Em, and Know When to Fold Em by John Liechty, Page 2

Spring 2022


es, there

are some

similarities in conditions and patterns.

However, things can

change in moments,

leaving us scratching our

heads. Wondering, what

changed, where did they

go and why are they not

biting the same as they

did yesterday, a week ago,

or last year?

As long as you fish

or have fished you will

surely encounter these

perplexing questions.

There is an endless

number of possibilities,

and your next move will

determine your outcome

for the day.

When faced with

these (what should I do

next?) questions, it really

comes down to two


The first would be to

try mixing things up and

rotate through as many

presentations as possible. And the next would be to choose

a technique you are confident in and grind it out. Both are

perfectly logical options, but if you choose the wrong one

your day might not go as planned.

When rotating through lures, colors, and actions, the

idea is to find something that is the golden ticket and stick

with it. Or at least get closer to settling on something.

When grinding it out with one specific technique, you

want to go with a tried-and-true method. This is not the

time to experiment. However, the most important thing to

remember is with either option “don’t force feed the fish”.

It’s just like the great card game of Poker, “know when

to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em”. But also know

when to go “all in”.


FOLD ‘EM: Let the fish tell you what to use. It might not be your comfort zone or favorite fishing style, but if it’s working best, go with it. If after taking a good sample with your chosen technique the fish are saying “no, nope, no thanks and probably not” – it’s time to rethink the strategy (fold ’em).

HOLD ‘EM: If they are

saying “yes please, and I’ll

have more of that”. Then

by all means don’t switch

(hold ’em). There are so

many times when they

will be biting a specific

presentation and we

as anglers want to fish

another (more exciting)

offering. I’m all for trying

something different, but if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it. Remember our goal is to catch as many as possible. And when you are getting bites the likelihood of getting a bigger fish is always there.

Here are a few scenarios in which we need to decide if we should “hold or fold”.


On a cloudy day in the spring, the wind is blowing along a rocky-point, leading into a spawning cove. The fish are stacked and chewing a ripbait or a spinnerbait. It is cast after cast nonstop action.

We revisited the same spot a few days later in hopes to duplicate success. However, it’s a bluebird day with flat calm