When fishing seems dead most people resort to moving from spot to spot because of their lack of patience or need to catch fish fast. Some of these people come to find they end up with only catching 2-3 fish a day and don’t qualify for the last day and others make it and win big. In a tournament situation, when you must have a 5 fish limit to even compete…
When fishing seems dead most people resort to moving from spot to spot because of their lack of patience or need to catch fish fast. Some of these people come to find they end up with only catching 2-3 fish a day and don’t qualify for the last day and others make it and win big. In a tournament situation, when you must have a 5 fish limit to even compete the, “Run & Gun” method, which is the most popular technique among bass anglers, seems like a reasonable way to fish. In a normal situation when the bass are biting the “Run & Gun” technique is effective and you can get a 5 fish limit very quickly. But under harsh conditions when a bass is few and far between you need to slow down and spend more time in one area rather than jumping from spot to spot. As I have encountered over my many years of fishing there are three ways to fish effectively, the Run & Gun, Root Yourself, and Milk Runs.
In tournament situations I determine which technique I need to use, first I spend time in area’s I know have fish and see how long it takes to catch them. Then I change spots, after I change 5-7 times I recall how long it took to catch a fish, how many fish I caught and how much time I spent there. Then from there I decide whether to “Run & Gun,” “Root Myself” or do “Milk Runs.”
Run & Gun
When Running & Gunning you’re most likely fishing to a condition, like, heavy wind, water rise or decline, pre-spawn, and rain. In these conditions it is best to “Run & Gun” because you’re catching fish within 15 minutes of being in one spot. If I caught 3 bass within the first 10 minutes of being in a spot then I don’t catch another bass for up to an hour it’s time to change spots and choose the “Run & Gun technique.” If you choose the “Run & Gun” you would move to another windblown point for example and throw the same bait as before. You would choose the “Run & Gun” because you caught fish when you first got there and you caught all the fish there is going to be caught in that particular area. It’s like running your big motor, you run for hours then you’re out of gas and stuck out in the middle of the lake, now you have to troll to the dock with your electric (I’ve done this many times). But then there are those hard decisions, when you catch a bass at 5 minutes, 45 minutes and 55minutes, in this situation I would choose the Milk Run.
The definition of a Milk Run is going from, spot to spot, knowing what time you need to be there and what time you need to leave to another spot. When “Milk Running” you must recall how many fish you’ve caught and at what times you caught them. A “Milk Run” would be very ineffective if you don’t know the water your fishing and if you haven’t pre-fished. At a lake I fish a lot I go from an area that I know has fish to another area with fish, after the current fish stop biting. This could be described as going from a shallow brush pile at 6:00am to a deep brush pile at 10:30am then to a really deep weed flat at 1:00pm because of summer bass feeding habits. The difference between a “Milk Run” and “Running & Gunning” is that when “Running & Gunning” you have no “method to your madness” and you move from area to area with only what appeals to the eye (could be on the graph also).
Knowing when to “Root Yourself” is key during many times of the fishing season, for example; after the spawn, after a cold front or on a heavily pressured body of water. Some factors I’ve come across to help me choose when to “Root Yourself” is the temperature of the water. If the water is cold, 33°-50°, the fish will be sluggish and won’t hit fast moving baits. This would be a time to “Root Yourself” and fish slow moving baits like a jig and pig or drop shot on repeated casts. You must stay in an area for 2-3 hours and be sure to fish all angles of presentation.
Another factor when deciding to “Root Yourself” is if the lake, reservoir, or river your fishing has a lot of fishing pressure or boat traffic. With boat traffic and fishing pressure the bass are more skittish and easily detoured by lures and less likely to strike a bait, this a perfect time to “Root Yourself”. The reason to “Root Yourself” is that the fish would be more picky about the way lure that is being presented and want a specific way the lure is pulled, dragged or hopped by. If you “Run & Gun” by the fish the few casts you throw will be less likely to produce a bite because of the presentation. A major part of “Rooting Yourself” is that you must repeat your casts to an area; I’ve casted at a brush pile in 20 feet of water 30 times before I catch a fish.
All the techniques are very productive under certain conditions and an angler must be very versatile and willing to switch it up between methods. You cannot limit yourself to one style, you can be great at one but you must also be good at the others. If your good at “Milk Running” then twice a week try the “Run & Gun” until you’ve perfected both methods, then move to the “Root Yourself” and prefect it. These few tips will help you become a more productive angler and a well rounded fisherman.
By: Aaron McMullen