Several months ago I wrote a column about catching everything there was from an area. At the time I credited that approach for my being more competitive. I still give that approach the credit. It’s the biggest thing that turned my fishing around.
At the same time, though, I think I left some people with the wrong idea. Getting everything there is to get from an area isn’t so much about fishing every inch of water with every lure in my boat as it is drawing on past experiences and fishing smart.
Whenever I enter an area I consider several things. The first is about practice. What did I do? What did I see? How many fish, and what size, do I think will still be there? Once I’ve run those things through my mind I start thinking about my past experiences and what they tell me about how I should approach this situation. Have I seen anything similar? What worked? What didn’t work?
In a recent tournament I went into an area with the idea that a vibrating jig would be the ticket. I knew the other guys were catching them with one so I thought I’d start out that way. It didn’t work. I fished a solid hour without a bite. It was time to put the rod down and think about things.
The other guys were catching them, but they were in a different part of the lake, nowhere near me. Once I got that into my head I started looking around with an eye towards other fishing situations I’d been in during the course of my short career.
I realized that the docks in the back of the area I was in looked like something I’d seen a couple of years before, and I’d caught several good bass back there with a trick worm rigged wacky style. So, that’s what I did.
And, sure enough, I caught one that was just over 5 pounds and another one that was just a little short of 5 pounds. They weren’t big enough to win the tournament, but they were big enough to keep me in the running, and I earned a nice check in the process.
That’s why I think it’s so important to fish any and every type of water you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a weekender. Experience will help you make good decisions based on past experiences. In fact, it might be the most important thing there is when it comes to bass fishing.
Something else that I think is really important is to learn to fish a lot of different lures and techniques. You want to be versatile. In the end that’ll get you more fish than being really good with one or two things.
In the tournament I just talked about if I couldn’t fish with a wacky rigged trick worm, or if I didn’t have confidence in it, I probably wouldn’t have caught any bass at all from the area I was fishing. As it was, though, I’m confident I got all there was in there that could be caught, or at least all that I could catch.
The final thing I’ve been doing is not fishing yesterday. Just because the fish were holding somewhere yesterday, or a particular bait was effective yesterday, doesn’t mean that’s the way I should be fishing today. Each day is an individual and unique opportunity.
I hope this straightened out any confusion about what I meant when I said I try to get all an area has before I head out somewhere else. It’s an important concept to understand if you’re going to try to catch a lot of bass this year.