I like to fish the waters off Cape Cod in the Summer for Striped Bass. If you read the fishing reports, theoretically, they should give you the required the information to catch the fish. This weekend, for example, the reports said the stripers were biting squid off the Monomoy Rips at the tide change. So, one could assume that if they show up at the Rips, with squid at the tide change, their odds of catching a fish are increased.
The problem with these fishing reports is the same problem with anecdotal lead quality reports from sales teams. They are based on a very low sample set, from a few people, or contacts.
Yes, a boat probably caught some stripers at the Monomoy Rips at the tide change on squid. But is this repeatable? Is this significant? No more repeatable than if a sales rep reports that “those trade show leads rock – I just closed a deal”. While he or she may have uncovered a single deal from the group, this single point of information is just not significant. No more significant than that one boat who caught the stripers.
For a fishing report to have any meaningful value, you would need a large sample of size of fisherman, all fishing the same spot, at the same time using the same techniques. If you had this, you could A/B test two different lures and check the results.
Let’s say for example, that a large biomass of Striped Bass was off the Chatham Inlet on Cape Cod. Put 100 boats over the biomass, give 50 boats squid chunks and another 50 boats jigs, have them fish the same way, over an entire tide cycle covering both dawn to dusk, then you could measure the results to see if squid or jigs resulted in a higher percentage of fish and at what time.
Without this, the fishing reports are just highly anecdotal pieces of information.
It’s the same with lead quality reports. Anecdotal reports that “these leads are hot” are just as dangerous as reports that “these leads stink”. It is impossible to tell what is actually happening until all the leads are processed, hopefully in a similar manner, from an event or campaign and the results compared against another batch of leads from a different campaign.
Without this, lead quality reports are about as good as those fishing reports.
There is one thing you can gleam from fishing reports — that is if anyone is catching anything. Right now, the usual fishing spots are very very quiet on the Cape. The usual northern migration of Striped Bass hasn’t hit some areas. You can tell this by the fishing reports, the lack of the fish trucks at the piers, the available parking spaces at the launches, and the lack of significant boat activity. So volume of fish is possible to ascertain, just like the volume of leads can easily be determined. But beyond that, without statistical analysis and controlled samples, fishing reports and anecdotal lead quality reports should be greeted with suspicion by marketers and fishermen.
If you are fishing for repeatable deals, rely on statistical analysis. Not anecdotal fishing reports.