HOW TO FIND FISH
LESSON TEXT: Romans 8:14; Acts 9:10-19; 16:9-10; 8:26-31.
“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
LESSON AIM: To discover new ways of finding hungry souls.
Teaching Material: Magni-Vu Pictures W and X; Words “Neighborhood”, “Food”, “Temperature”, “Eyesight and Hearing” and “Leading of the Spirit.”
GO OUT WITH THE PRO’S
An inexperienced fisherman or one who wants to learn better techniques goes fishing with a professional. If you want to find salmon on the coasts of California, choose a party-boat in the San Francisco area. They not only equip you with rod, reel and tackle, but furnish lunch as well. The fishing-boat captain can take you to the exact hotspots and give you a quick education in angling.
If some particular kind of fish attracts your eye, go with someone who is a seasoned fisherman who has mastered the methods of finding your favorite fish. After seeing him in action and observing his tricks of the trade, soon you can do likewise.
This is true about anything you want to learn. Be willing to be taught by an expert in the field. Listen to everything they have to say and be willing to obey each detail explicitly.
WHAT ARE THE HABITS OF THE FISH?
Practically every fisherman has a favorite fish to which he gives his allegiance. Their choices range from the silver king tarpon to Atlantic salmon or northern pike. But the one we will concentrate on is the largemouth bass, one of America’s most popular gamefishes.
Before it is possible to catch your limit on these fighters every time you wet your hook, there are certain facts to be remembered. You must know where to look for them. Lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, reservoirs, canals, drainage ditches, bayous and marshes are the home of largemouth bass. Fresh water or brackish water, clear or turbid water, still or running water, weedy or weed-free water is where you are apt to find them.
They spawn once each spring when water temperatures reach a certain level somewhere between 65 and 74 degrees. They feed on minute animal life almost as soon as they are hatched and the size of their prey increases as they grow. It is important to know that crawfish and small fishes of many kinds are the favored foods of an adult bass, although the variety of creatures found in their stomachs has been astonishing.
Bass don’t feed constantly-another fact to consider. For hours a largemouth may lounge contentedly in his lair as the small bluegills or minnows swim within easy reach. Then, as if a signal has been given, the bass will devour the nearest unsuspecting fish. This may be repeated several times, and then apparently satisfied, he will return to his meek role.
It is significant to know what time of day they usually feed. Usually at dawn and at dusk they eat; however, a feeding spree may be triggered by the presence of schools of shad near the surface of the lake, especially if bass are schooling.
The largemouth bass seems to be most comfortable at a water temperature of about 70 degrees. He searches for the right temperature both to move away from the penetrating rays of the sun and to get into a strata of water which is of a degree to his liking.
They have a keen sense of eyesight, hearing and scent. This must be remembered in choosing lures that have colors, action and smell. All these facts about bass will help to know how to find them.
FINDING THE FISH
(Place Magni-Vu Picture W on board).
The most important skill for a bass fisherman to master is the ability to find the fish. After he has all the equipment needed and the ability to use it, he must learn how and where to look in the lake or stream which has an adequate bass population.
If you don’t know where to fish, you can work around the trees all day and not get a strike. It’s not that they bite “yesterday” and “next week,” but the fact may be that you are not even close to a bass. Bass migrate. Most of the time you are working around the shoreline or among the trees, there simply aren’t any fish there. They don’t hit for thirty minutes and then stop hitting. They didn’t start or stop-they just hadn’t been there before and they weren’t there afterwards.
Bass usually stay in groups on the bottom of the water. Year after year they will go to certain schooling spots which appear to be no different from any other place in the water. The trick is to find such spots and stay with them. Most of them gang up in deep water and most fishermen go to the wrong places – maybe for years.
KNOW THE WATERS
A key factor in finding the fish is a detailed knowledge of the water you are fishing. There is an old saying that an expert bass fisherman is the man who fishes in his own backyard lake. Because he has covered that water over and over, he usually gets to know it intimately, and his fishing improves. It all boils down to finding a place in the lake which has previously proved successful.
There may be many other fishermen who fish just as much, perhaps more, but they never get to know the water. They perform the mechanical functions of going to the lake, casting and trolling, yet they are completely oblivious of the physical characteristics of the water they are fishing.
The part of the lake he must get to know well is the bottom. The drop-offs, sloping ridges, underwater bars, reefs, underwater weed beds, brush piles and treetops must be discovered. This may take some time, but it is the only way to be able to fill your stringer every trip.
(Place Magni-Vu Picture X on board.)
One of the best ways to get to know the bottom is to use an electronic depth finder such as a Fish Lo-K-Tor. This piece of equipment ranks in importance with the outboard motor to a serious angler. Since bass seek a water temperature range of 68 to 72 degrees, in conjunction with bottom structures such as drop-offs, the fisherman’s job is to locate bottom structures at a depth where the water is at this range. This is an expensive piece of equipment but an enormous aid in finding fish.
ESTABLISH A PATTERN
To establish a pattern means to experiment with every variable at your disposal when you begin fishing to find the combination which will catch fish. Bass are usually caught in large numbers only when you meet a particular set of standards and stay with them. For example, on a certain day bass may prefer a yellow surface lure with spinners. But the bass also want it presented in a certain manner, fished in a certain depth of water over a particular kind of bottom formation and retrieved just so. When that combination is discovered, the obvious road to success is to repeat it until it no longer produces.
Establishing a pattern, then, consists of experimenting and interpreting. It is worthless to experiment if you cannot interpret what
you have found. If you establish the pattern that bass are striking a spinner-skirt lure pulled very slowly past cypress trees standing in about four feet of water on the shady side of the tree, continue to cast on the shady side and you can catch a bundle of bass. When a combination is discovered that the fish like, the obvious road to success is to repeat it until it no longer produces.
It makes sense to experiment in a systematic manner and be aware of what you’re trying at all times. When you do catch a fish, if you’ve followed this procedure, you’ll know the reasons for success. Then it’s easy to duplicate this technique and catch another.
When an expert bass fisherman catches a bass, he continues to fish in that same manner without moving on. The unlearned fisherman will catch a bass and move on and continue to fish. But one bass may be the key to the whole flock, for bass can be picked like grapes-in bunches.
The current, or water flow, will cause bass to concentrate. Where vast swamp areas are periodically covered with flood waters part of the year, when the flood waters begin to recede, bass anglers often find a bonanza. The fish will congregate where the current is swiftest.
Any kind of cover, particularly on the lake bottom, is a likely spot to find bass. That’s what it is so important to get to the bottom of the lake with your lure to hit the concentration of bass. The only time they leave the bottom is during spring when they move into the shallows to spawn and when they go in schools in a regular migration route toward the shallow water once or twice a day to feed. After rising to a depth of about eight to ten feet they will break up their concentrations as they look for food. Most of their time is spent in deep water, in schools, and in a very restricted area-their sanctuary. That sanctuary is most often in the deepest part of the lake on a bar, ridge or a clean spot on the lake bottom.
A SOUL-WINNER IN ACTION
We have gone into a lengthy study about bass and their habits. Now let’s compare what we have learned to people.
To find the places where you can catch the most, the wise thing to do is go with the master soul-winner. In most churches, this is your pastor. Or it could be an individual in your church who has discovered how to fish for men.
The person who is over the visitation program in your church knows the hottest leads to be found. He knows the background of families who have visited and those who are interested in coming to your church. This would be like riding on a party-boat and the captain taking you to the exact spot with a quick education in angling.
Those who are in charge of keeping records of visitors who have recently attended your church know where to send fishermen to make a quick catch. Maybe your visit to their home would be all it would take for them to break down that last bit of resistance and swallow the bait-hook, line and sinker!
If you feel a little unsure of yourself, go with another member to visit. Watch their tactics. Observe how they make conversation and win the confidence of their prospect. Learn all you can about their way of approaching the subject of church or if they mention it at all. Then question this person after you have left the home of the prospect. Ask why they did or said a certain thing. This is the best way in the world to win souls-by watching a wise soul-catcher in action!
HOW ARE PEOPLE LIKE FISH?
Every person has certain habits of life to which they have adapted themselves. There is a basic type that live in gorgeous homes. There is another class that can be found in moderate priced homes. From the very poorest to the very richest manner of living you will find people living in similar circumstances.
We discussed only one type bass, the largemouth. There are also smallmouth, spotted, striped, black, white and yellow bass that are all part of the sunfish family. Their habits are not all identical, but they are similar. The same is true with people. Most of the families living in a particular neighborhood are similar, but not identical. Regardless of their “color” or markings, they closely resemble one another. Therefore, the characteristics must be narrowed down to the fine details to know how to catch one certain family of people.
(Place “Neighborhood” on board).
You must know where to look for a certain type person you want to win. What kind of water do they live in? A millionaire would not be living in a slum area of town. Neither would a penniless person reside in the wealthy section of town. Go to the section of town that you know your favorite type fish would make their home.
(Place “Food” on board).
What do they feed on? This is not necessarily the type food they eat; what do their minds feed on? Are they interested in education – and improving their knowledge? Do they search for the finer things of life or do they content themselves with the trash and trivia of our day? If their radio or record player is blasting away with loud rock music as soon as you approach their door, you have a good idea what they feed on. If their home or garage is loaded with sporting goods, you have another clue.
Do they feed constantly or occasionally? A real bookworm that – feeds constantly can easily be spotted. If their television is never turned off, you know what their minds feed on all day long. It is important to know the interests of the person you are desiring to win to the Lord. How much of their time is spent indulging in this favorite past-time?
(Place “Temperature” on board).
Do they live in a hot, cold or moderate temperature? What kind of emotions do they have? Are they quick-tempered? Are they easy going and gentle? Are they bitter and cynical in their outlook on life? Do they seem happy or sad? Are they burdened down with the problems and cares of life which has made them depressed?
(Place “Eyesight and Hearing” on board).
What about their spiritual eyesight and hearing? Could they detect the voice of God? Have their eyes been opened to understanding the Word of God? Could they grasp any of the deep things of God? Are they hungry to know more about the Saviour?
Once you find your certain type prospect, these facts must be considered to help you choose the right lure. Every fact you can uncover about your kind of fish will help you to find them. And then you will know what kind of bait will work best.
LOCATING A SOUL
One of the most important skills to master in winning souls is how to find the people. After you have all the equipment you need (faith, prayer, testimony, wisdom, boldness, etc.), and have learned how to use it well, you must learn how and where to look.
Suppose you want to work on those in the average income bracket in an average neighborhood. Drive in your car until you find the type homes that look ideal. Now you have found the river, lake, reservoir, pond, etc. that your kind of fish should live in. But you still don’t know which of all these homes is the sanctuary of your prospect.
Now you need to know what the bottom of this lake is like. Where is their own private sanctuary? One method of “bumping the bottom” is to take a church census. Go from home to home with your card and pencil and get information. Do they go to church? Most of them will say yes whether they do or not. What is their church preference? You will find some of them to be Pentecostal. How many children are in their family? Do they attend church regularly? Where does the husband work? All this information will give you some good clues as to what kind of fish live in this neighborhood.
While taking the census, glance around the room (if you were invited inside) to see if you can find evidence of what this family feeds on. What are their interests? What is the temperature of the home? What kind of emotions do they have? Can you detect anything about their spiritual life?
Another method of scouting out the lake is to join a P.T.A. group or a civic club in your neighborhood. Take a paper route for a few months so you can become acquainted with your neighbors. If you live in a mobile home, move to a new trailer park. If there is a death in the community, take it upon yourself to go from door to door to inform the neighbors and perhaps get donations for a floral offering. While talking to each individual, find out as much as you can about them without being too conspicuous about what you’re doing. Make friends with everyone you meet. Volunteer to do neighborhood services so that you can become acquainted with people. See if there are any fish that you could catch.
THE LEADING OF THE HOLY GHOST
(Place “Leading of the Spirit” on board.)
The Fish Lo-K-Tor is an expensive gadget for finding fish. The Spirit of God also provides one of these, but it, too is quiet expensive. The best way in the world to find a soul is the leading of the Holy Ghost. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). It’s rather difficult to explain how this device works, but God can install a piece of equipment right in your heart that will tell you when to go to a certain place at a certain time and talk to a certain person about a certain thing. Man cannot figure out how this instrument works, but we can be assured that it will work much more accurately than a Fish Lo-K-Tor.
However, there is a price tag on this device. It requires much prayer and fasting and learning to listen to the voice of the Lord. The reason Ananias left his home and went to the street called Straight to talk to a hated persecutor of the Christians was because this instrument was giving him signals. Acts 9:10-19 gives us the account of the leading of the Spirit in action.
Another account of this locater working was when Paul had a vision in the night. “….There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:9-10). This was “inside information” about a whole school of fish!
Philip also knew about this leading of the Spirit. An angel of the Lord told him to go south from Jerusalem unto Gaza through the desert, but it was the Spirit that spoke to him and told him to go near and join himself to the chariot. “And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:26-31). Philip found a fish and quickly got the hook in his jaw.
The chances are that both Saul of Tarsus and the eunuch would have been quickly won to the Lord had someone knocked on their door. Instead, God chose to speak to someone that would locate them quickly.
Some folks would love to have this leading of the Spirit to win souls, but they don’t want to pay the price for it. How could they expect God to give them specific instructions regarding a soul when they are afraid to obey the voice of the Lord at church when He tells them to get out in the aisle and run; or dance in the Spirit? If we can’t follow the Lord in such small things, we could hardly expect to follow Him in such important things as locating a hungry soul.
One saint of God was doing her work about the house and the Lord spoke to her and told her to go to a certain grocery store and talk to the girl at the cash register. By following the Lord quickly, at the right time, the girl was won to God and brought into the church.
Some people are against any type soul-winning program. They don’t like to use bait to get people to church. But the thing to remember is that we need the programs along with the leading of the Holy Ghost. When we have both, just think how many more fish we could catch!
Once you find a pattern most people follow, you are on your way toward catching lots of them. To find this pattern, you must experiment. When you find a combination that people like, repeat it again. Keep working it until you have no more results. But don’t forget what you did to win that particular soul. We often forget that the individual we just won to the Lord also has friends, neighbors and relatives nearby that could be caught in the same way they were. There could be a whole bunch of fish-just like grapes waiting to be picked.
Learn to interpret what the sinners are telling you in the way they bite. Whatever attracted one, could attract many others. And remember that flood waters could produce many souls that could be reaped. When the discouragements and disappointments of life come, that is a good time to begin casting. After tragedy strikes, there is a good chance of winning many people that were affected by it.
Often people will try to hide beneath a cover. They don’t want to display their true feelings or let you know how interested in the gospel they really are. But if that right lure comes drifting by, they can’t resist. Until you know which bait will work best, keep trying until you find the right combination. And in the meantime, don’t forget your Fish Lo-K-Tor, which is the leading of the Holy Ghost. When you least suspect, you could hear that voice speaking to you, saying, “….This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21). Always have your ear open to hear the voice of God instructing you how to go about finding souls.
Emphasize this week that everyone try to get their spiritual ears in tune with the voice of the Lord as He leads them to speak to a certain individual or pass out a tract or do a kind deed. God would speak to us much more if we were listening. This should be a good week to fill up their record sheet with many different types of contacts. We must keep in mind that if the Spirit impresses us to do a certain thing, there is a hungry soul that is waiting for us to do it.
(The above material appeared in Fearless Fishermen, Search for Truth Publication, Houston, TX.)
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