Angelo Viola, the Fishologist

by Angelo Viola

After a career that spans almost four decades, I’ve decided to change my role in life. I will no longer respond to “the fishing dude” nor “that guy who catches fish” nor (god forbid) “the fishing pro.” Nope. From this day forward I will be known as a Fishologist. That is correct—in the future, please refer to me as “Angelo, the Fishologist.”

Here’s my thinking on this: Meteorologists or weathermen, who are responsible for forecasting or predicting the weather, conduct scientific research and study historical patterns and, based on that data, predict what the weather is going to be tomorrow, next week, next month… and because it’s a prediction, it’s not always accurate. But that’s okay. We forgive and forget because, after all, meteorology is a very honourable profession and we see it as serious business.

Well, think about it—that’s exactly what I do for a living! I study fish patterns and behaviour and, based on historical data, I make predictions and forecast where fish are going to be tomorrow, next week, or, in some cases, next month. Hell, I even predict what frame of mind they’re going to be in, and go so far as tell you what they’re apt to be eating!

But much like a meteorologist, a fishologist isn’t always right. All of this to tell you that the next time you seek advice from your most trusted fishing buddy—or “the fishing dude” or “that guy who catches fish” or (god forbid) “the fishing pro”—and it doesn’t quite work out, you need to cut him a little slack. Forgive and forget, just like you do with your favourite weatherman.

I recently had an experience that prompted this whole train of thought. One of my closest friends and a hardcore angler (we’ll call him Dave to protect the innocent) reached out to me for advice on where to go fishing on the opening day of Walleye in Southern Ontario. He didn’t want just a spot; he wanted the spot. So right off the bat, he wants me to predict where the most catchable, hungriest, and biggest Walleye are going to be a full month-and-a-half from now. And if that’s not enough, he also needs to know what baits to use!

“It’s possibly the old timer’s final fishing trip and my buddy Dave has promised him the greatest Walleye fishing day of his life. And that’s when it hit me: With all due respect to the prognosticators of weather, they have no idea what pressure really is.”

I immediately went to work on the project and started digging through our Fish’n Canada Hotspots pages on this very site to re-familiarize myself with the Walleye hotspots in Southern Ontario. I’ve been kept away from this area on Walleye opening for the past twelve years or so, as the Fish’n Canada shooting schedule has seen me travelling more often to the more northerly reaches of the country during that time. No problem, though—there is plenty of data stored on this site and even more stored in this 65-year-old brain of mine to accurately predict the future.

I crunched all the numbers, I measured all of the variables, I looked into such things as the “Solunar Tables,” historical water levels, expected ice-out, and creel census records for the opening day of Walleye in Southern Ontario for the past five years. At this point, I’m good to go. I call my buddy to give him the goods. I’ve got three areas that are in different parts of the province that could potentially be fishing nirvana for the opening of Walleye. Mission accomplished, right? Not quite.

My buddy Dave throws two final directives at me: I have to narrow it down to just one spot, and it can’t be more than two hours from his home because he is going to take an old man along who is on his last legs. It’s possibly the old timer’s final fishing trip and my buddy Dave has promised him the greatest Walleye fishing day of his life. And that’s when it hit me: With all due respect to the prognosticators of weather, they have no idea what pressure really is. After all, what’s a little rain and gusting wind when you tell people it’s going to be sunny? An extra foot of snow never hurt anybody, either—it’s winter, what do they expect? Right? When it’s all said and done, they’ll just throw up their arms and say, “Can’t trust that damn weatherman!” But before the day’s done, they’re on the weather app or in front of the TV getting advice from that same person on what tomorrow’s going to look like. And on it goes—over and over. It’s a relationship that defies all logic.

As for me? Let me just say this: If those Walleye aren’t biting exactly how, when, and where I’m predicting they will a month from now, my buddy Dave and that poor old fellow—who has entrusted me with his last few days of fishing on this earth—will have a whole lot more to say than “Can’t trust that damn fishing guy.”

But if I were a fishologist? Well, that would be a whole different story, wouldn’t it, my friends?

Angelo Viola

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