Here is a hypothetical situation, in which, I am sure, many of us have been: There is a big tournament coming up that you must to do really well in. You make numerous trips to the lake to pre-fish. You think you have it all down to a science, where the fish are, what to throw, how to shake it, what rod to use, what line to use and so on. Then the morning of the tournament comes, and you are so excited about it you cant stand it. You just want to look at all your buddies and say I know where they are and Im gonna catchum and your gonna lose!!! Then the inevitable happens, 9:30am and not even a bite. Youve hit your 3 best spots and nothing? What do I do? Pack it up and head home to spare the embarrassment of having no fish at the weigh-in, fake a break down, or keep fishing and hope to salvage the day? Of course you are going to keep fishing! Youre not a quitter! Youve never quit anything a day in your life! Here are some helpful hints to salvaging the day on the water. These are tried and tested methods of Junk Fishing.
First things first Calm down! Take a deep breath, have a drink (Non-Alcoholic), and compose yourself. The day is not all lost, and there is plenty of time to catch a limit. It is time for some junk fishing. The best way to begin junk fishing is by finding a piece of water that you firmly believe holds fish. Preferably something you didnt fish during pre-fishing. Line up your rods on your deck with a different type of lure on each. The idea is to be able to cover all spectrums of the water column with lures that you have confidence in. You must cover top, bottom, inside, and outside of all structure. This is not the time to throw that new lure you just bought at Bass Pro Shop. Throw the tried, tested, and true lures that got you addicted to this sport. Put the trolling motor down and leave it down. Start working every piece of structure and the open water around it with the correct lure. By correct lure, I mean throw a worm around and into the structure. Throw crank baits around and into it. The same thing goes for the rest of the lures on your deck. Then, and only then, should you move to the next piece of structure. Make sure you hit it from all angles. Take your time and hit every part of it, dissecting it like your biology teacher taught you in high school. By fishing from top to bottom, inside and out you are ensuring that no water goes untouched. Therefore no fish goes without seeing a lure. This will give you the best chance to catch a fish and find out where they are and what you missed in pre-fishing. By all means, if something starts to work, and you catch a couple fish on a particular lure, stick with it. Fish it until it stops. Just dont get stuck fishing with one lure and not covering the entire water column until you have patterned them. That is what bass fishing is all about: finding a pattern and being able to adapt to the changing circumstances.
The second step is playing the mind game with yourself. Every angler has a vision in their head of what the perfect fishing spot looks like, whether its stumps, lay downs, grass, lilly pads, shallow water, or deep. Every angler has the ultimate spot in mind. Find it! Even if its not the right time of year for fish to be there, find it! Since I know you have that vision in your head, I know that you have the perfect lure in mind. The lure you look for EVERY time you are in a tackle shop, because you know you cant have too many. Your confidence bait, the one you throw when nothing else works, because you know that fish will hit it. For example, when all else fails me, I find shallow water (2-5ft) with grass, and I throw an Excalibur Swimn Image. I have had that lure for the last 10 years. I always make sure that I have more than one on the boat at every tournament. I make long casts and rip it though the grass. It causes a reaction strike no matter what time of the year. Not many people throw crank baits in grass, so that gives me confidence, in my head, that I am doing something different than everybody else. In my mind there is nothing better to do or throw in that situation. But, that is because it is what I have confidence in. Now think for a moment about what your perfect spot would look like. Have you been there? What lure would you throw? Can you see the strike as it happens? If you can, then you are on the right track. If you cant, well, try again. Being able to see the strike happen before it does means that you are going to have confidence in what you are doing. That is what the mind game is all about.
I to have a Nintendo 64 with a bass fishing game. Shaw Grigsby was the voice of the game and he had a lot of great sayings. My favorite would happen if you hit the button to reel your lure in quickly to make another cast. He would say You cant catch any fish if you dont keep the bait wet! I think that could be the best advice I ever received and its the best piece of advice I can pass on to you when the fishing gets tough. Not many bass are caught while the big motor is howling 60mph down the lake. Take your time, keep your bait wet, and the fish will come. Take care and remember, Always follow your heart and never give up on a dream.