Today’s Illustration: Pan Fish or Pike?

Who: Jim Nowakowski — Marketing and marketing communications expert, President of Interline Creative Group

What: Pan Fish vs Pike

“We were fishing once on a small lake in Illinois with my two friends catching pan fish (bluegills, perch). It was cold, really cold. We were “drift fishing” letting the cold wind blow us with our fishing poles in the water across the lake. Now and then the panfish would hit. We caught a good deal of fish, but we were freezing.

There was only one other boat on the lake that day. He was anchored in the middle of the lake, standing in his boat, casting his line out repeatedly and then reeling it back quickly. We would watch him, and then go back to our own  technique. “At least he was keeping warm,” we joked. We saw the size of the lure he was using (about the size of one of our pan fish), and we knew there were no fish in this lake that would take a lure that size. Or so we thought.

After several hours, the wind brought us near his boat. By that time, we had filled our basket with fish. He called out to us as he cast his line away from our boat, “How you guys doin’?” Fishermen love to know how the other guy is doing.

“Pretty good,” I said, as my friend lifted the basket of fish proudly from the side of the boat.

“How are you doin’?” we asked, secretly laughing to ourselves.

He finished reeling in the lure, bent down to the side of his boat and pulled up an enormous Northern Pike – probably five feet in length. I got just one,” he called back calmly, lowered it back down into the water, and started casting again.

We went home with our pan fish.

As Jim told me, People used to ask me when I started the study of advertising how many leads were enough, and I would tell that story.  Because the truth is, you only need one lead – if it’s the right one. [1]


Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • witnessing
  • soul-winning
  • ministry outreach
  • our loved ones
  • work
  • sloth
  • numbers
  • quality vs. quantity
  • outreach
  • programs
  • invitations


Other Information & Links:


“Questions raised from Jim’s story to factor into your growth strategy:

How much research is required to land the “pikes” in your industry?  You tend to be luckier at catching any fish (leads) when you know where the fish are, which means doing some research before sailing out to sea and not just “drifting,” hoping for some nibbles.

Is your time better spent going after small pan fish (many leads of lesser value) or landing that single pike (one lead, higher value)? Your answer may depend on the price of your product or service, how long you have been in business and the nature of your competition.

How much time does it take to land the big fish?  Do you have the time and resources to go after big business?

If going after both large and small fish is your strategy, how do you allocate your time for each?

What are your sales strengths? Or, if you manage a sales team, which reps are better at catching pike and which at reeling in pan fish?  Catching big fish (high pay-off clients) generally requires more research, patience, strategy, and skill than reeling in smaller, easier-to-catch clients. If you or your team lack “big fish” skills, do you need to hire new people or train your  existing group?

So, what will it be for you in 2022: pan fish, pike, or both?  And, how able are you to reel them in?

Good fishing!” [1]


One thought on “Today’s Illustration: Pan Fish or Pike?

  1. Most people are fishing panfish in our little lake. I fish pike. One nice pike will have more tasty meat (boneless if you know how to take the Y bones out) than 3 limits of panfish.
    Great illustration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.