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The Devil is in the Detail

By Dan Trotter on August 23, 2016 in Other

Photo: Dominic Wiseman

Photo: Dominic Wiseman

Success or failure in just about everything we do in life, from the simplest of tasks to the most complex of projects, is determined by attention to detail, as well as a little bit of luck.
A tricky conversation, driving a car, delivering a project, running this magazine month to month, even your morning coffee – success in everything comes down to detail. And it’s the same when it comes to fishing.

My anecdote this month comes from a trip just two days ago, out wide in search of tuna. The planning conversations had been going on for weeks, we’d been paying close attention to the temperature breaks, talking tactics, looking for opportunities in our busy work schedules and waiting for the weather. Then, on Friday, the call came in. The weather was looking good, there was a decent temperature break within range, and the boys wanted me to wrangle some crew. Within hours, two self-employed, experienced fishing mates had changed their schedules, cancelled meetings and taken the day off work for a chance to mix it with the biggest tuna Sydney gets to see.

As we arrived at the dock at 5am, frost glistening on the exterior white and alloy surfaces of the game boat, the lack of attention to detail started to raise its head. The boat’s shore power had been left off and something on-board had been left switched on – the five-bank of deep cycle batteries was as flat as the ocean that day.

Within a very cold and dark hour and a half of head scratching and swearing, the guys had it figured out, the diesels were rhythmically humming and we were off – off to discover that the fuel card was not on the boat; off to discover that the wrong switch had been flicked and the house batteries were not charging. It was daylight by the time we left the harbour, set a course, and pushed the throttles down for the two-hour run to the marks.

Arriving at the predetermined GPS mark, everything started to come together; bait was rippling on the surface and visible down deep on the sounder, a few sea birds were hovering about, and a slight temperature break was noted in the calm conditions – perfect. We shared a few smiles and each of us dreamed our own little dreams that today could be the day.

As the rods and reels came out and the lures were clipped onto the swivels, it started to show that the devil was indeed in the detail. None of the fishing gear on-board the boat was prepped and ready, the lures hadn’t been re-rigged from last year’s season, hooks were dull, leaders were still salty and chaffed with corroding crimps and drag settings on the game reels were out – clearly no thought had been put into the gear. We quickly re-rigged a few lures and spirits lifted when within ten minutes of the first lures being deployed as we hooked and landed a small but exciting shortbill spearfish.

Unfortunately it wasn’t too long before the devil of detail struck again. Instead of circling the area in an ever widening spiral and working the temperature change, the skipper, not to be told otherwise, set a course east in search of deeper water and bigger fish, driving right us out of the zone. Within an hour there were no signs of life, and the rest of the day was spent sleeping, cursing and discussing the fact that no more fish had been caught.

You can imagine how we all felt by the end of the day. The devil truly is in the detail in everything we do; stop paying attention to it and opportunities pass you by.