I recently came across a social media post featuring a quote that professional bass angler, Rick Clunn, had said, “If you are ever going to get into bass fishing seriously, you’ve got to forget one thing. That is luck, which has very little, if anything, to do with it. Fishing is an art and a science. It can be learned. The level you achieve in it is up to you.”

That quote struck me, and it made me think…

For you to get to know me a little better, here is a background check for you. I consider myself a relatively good fisherman, not the best, not the worst, but something in the middle ground. I have been fishing for the last 20 some years. I started fishing when I was three, I’m sponsored, fish tournaments, and I work in the fishing industry. I have given many seminars and have some fishing articles published with other online fishing resources.

smallmouth bassHere are my overall thoughts about whether fishing is a matter of luck or skill. People that only fish 2-3 times a year will not understand the difference and they will disagree fishing is a skill simply due to the fact that they fail to realize the greater picture of what a day on the water is like with someone that knows how to fish. When people ask me about fishing and if there’s luck involved, I always tell them that there is very little luck when fishing, it’s mainly all skill. Once those words come out of my mouth a giant debate starts about how they are lucky when they go fishing or this or that, but what they don’t understand is that there was a reason they caught fish, it wasn’t luck, a piece of that puzzle was figured out. They called it luck, I call it lack of viewing the whole big picture.

fishing at dawnFishing skills are all learned by being on the water, figuring out the missing puzzle piece, fishing with someone that is better than you, and noticing the changes in the environment. When you break it all down and start noticing the details and become very detailed orientated, the puzzle we call fishing starts to grow into a big master piece that was once a messed up puzzle. Good anglers, no matter the species, can pick apart the puzzle of figuring out how to fish that day, they do that by years of being on the water and applying what they learned. The more time you spend on the water the better you will get, plain and simple. You will get even better if you fish with someone that is even better than you.

largemouth bassIn all, I agree with what Mr. Clunn had said, there is little luck while fishing, fishing is an application of learned skills. When something is figured out and replicated, you are finding the missing puzzle piece and you are starting to see the whole picture. Now get out there and fish!

fishing boat in towOh, and that social media post I mentioned… Here it is. What do you think, is fishing more luck, or more skill?

rick clunn quote


  1. A puzzle is a great way to reference patterning fish. You may happen upon a fish, but it is true that something worked to get that fish to bite. How well you do from that point is up to you. Can you put the pieces together that will allow you to catch additional fish? Nice article…