Effectiveness and efficiency are words that many people use almost interchangeably. This, however, can be a debilitating mistake. One without the other can possibly hook you up with a few fish, yet, both of them together may win you the tournament. 

So what is the difference between the two? I was discussing with a friend of mine, who happened to be a band director, about her approach to running her band program. She was tedious about the most minute details of everything she did. The process was very effective for her and the ensemble. Then she mentioned that another area band director was all about efficiency and never spent the time to go over the details like she did, but, they got through much more musical literature. I stopped her immediately and said, “The thing you must understand is that Efficiency does not always equal Effectiveness. Efficiency is “skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort” (“efficiency.” The American Heritage Science Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 31 Dec. 2008.). Whereas, Effectiveness means “able to accomplish a purpose” (“effective.” WordNet 3.0. Princeton University. 31 Dec. 2008.). It is easy to see that, although you may be efficient in your approach, your presentation may be lacking effectiveness. 

The constant battle between power fishermen and finesse fishermen is whether you should stay put and fish or cover as much water as possible. Everybody chalks it up to style preference claiming that both approaches work equally well; they obviously do. Both Aaron Martens and Kevin VanDam have been extremely successful yet their styles are polar opposites. VanDam has obviously had more success, but that has more to do with how he implements his techniques rather than the style of fishing he chooses to use. What I believe may seem illogical and controversial at first, but keep reading and you will understand my point of view. The answer to a successful day on the water is ALWAYS to cover as much water as possible! The key phrase in that statement is “as possible.” Here I am speaking of efficiency. If I am fishing for active fish with a Red Eye Shad on shallow flats, it will be possible for me to cover much more water than if I am shakey-head fishing for the finicky black bass of Bull Shoals. However, with the Ikey-head in my hands I am still trying to cover as much water as possible. What do I mean by that? I am simply attempting to keep the bait in the strike zone longer by minimizing time in between casts, eating and drinking while I fish, quickly reeling in when I am no longer in the prime spot, getting my knot tying time down, etc. Even if I am casting to one point all day long, by keeping my bait in the strike zone longer, I am covering as much water as possible.

Then this brings to question the matter of effectiveness. Everybody understands that if you are throwing the wrong bait or using the wrong presentation you will not catch as many fish as you would with the correct one. Understand this; sometimes efficiency determines your effectiveness. This is the whole idea behind the run and gun approach. When running and gunning you have a series of high percentage areas where you are most likely to get a bite. You know that the more of these areas you can fish the more likely you are to come out on top at the end of the day. Even if your presentation is off a little bit from what the fish want, if you can show it to ten times the amount of fish as somebody with the correct presentation does, you may still defeat them. 

Obviously, there are endless variables that play into any game plan, but the fact that efficiency and effectiveness determines your success on the water never changes. You will have to adjust constantly based on the feedback the fish give you (numbers to size, strike to hook-up, hook-up to land, etc.), yet you are always toying with the two most basic entities in fishing, Efficiency and Effectiveness.

Josh Bracamontes