Bass Fishing success can’t be achieved on skill alone. Raw talent is a gift but without the proper tools, one will never be able to completely harness that skill to reach his/her maximum potential. As fisherman, we are all searching to gain an upper hand both on the fish we pursue and the competition we face. How can normal weekend anglers gain any type of advantage when we are all essentially cast from the same mold? The truth is that this answer is quite simple. It is a formula I’ve been following for years and for me, it has helped keep me a few paces ahead of the crowd.
I liken building a fishing style to the United States military. You are likely scratching your head now but think of it this way. What makes our military far more superior to any other army in the world? Technology, better equipment, better training, desire, planning and the ability to change and adapt quickly make the US military the premier combat force. If you think about it, each one of those factors can easily be applied to a game plan for a bass fisherman.
Let’s break down each of these facets as it applies to fishing to see just how you can use them to your advantage.
Technology: It’s no secret that today’s manufacturers are racing at a head spinning pace to be the first to introduce us to high tech products fashioned out of the most intricate and space age materials. We’ve seen plastic change to graphite, and steel to titanium. Dacron lines have been replaced by Kevlar and Micro Dyneema. Even monofilaments have given way to copolymers, hybrids and fluorocarbons. Gone are yesterdays dull hooks, instead chemically sharpened needle points and cutting point hooks rule the tackle aisles. Remember fiberglass? You would be put to task to find a fiberglass rod these days. Now high strain graphites that are much lighter and stronger and even more sensitive are the choice for many. Anyone remember the Crème worm? A billion facsimiles and likely just as many colors later, it has drastically changed. Yesterday’s hand carve plugs have been all but replaced by molded plastic crankbaits. Those old short arm Tarantula spinnerbaits are now long arm titanium models that are said to be indestructible. A Sweet Beaver? A Senko? El Gordo and Fat Tony Tubes? Hand pours, Drop Shotting, Wacky rigs???? Where does it stop? To build a successful army, you need to use technology and stay ahead of the competition. As far as my fishing is concerned this, long ago I learned to go out of the way and utilize baits that were either custom or little known. I think based on my succes it has surely helped me.
Hey, stop cowering in the corner. The truth is that technology is good. For anglers, it translates into more effective tackle and techniques. In the right hands, that means more fish.
Better Equipment: I remember fiberglass rods and plastic reels. Today’s angler can literally feast on the buffet of options available to him. Rods have only gotten lighter, more sensitive, stronger and more responsive. You don’t think that matters? Try bouncing on the deck of a boat for 10 hours. The last thing you need to add to your discomfort is an elbow problem due to a heavy unbalanced rod. Reels have changed a ton as well. No more plastic or graphite. Instead, many of today’s best reels are metal. Light weight alloys and titanium help add strength and durability without adding weight. These materials can take the stress and abuse better than others. Today’s baits are made of more durable materials and feature better hardware and hooks. Soft plastics are salted and scented and come in a ton of shapes, styles and colors. Jigs have better weed guards and hooks and they feature amazing skirts in vivid colors. Remember those nasty vinyl skirts? I am insulted that the tackle industry put those out there thinking I’d want them. To build an elite soldier, you must equip him with the finest, most efficient gear.
Better Training: Imagine what it was like trying to get good fishing information 25 years ago. Tight lipped guys realized if they opened their mouths, they’re honey holes could suffer. Today there are so many different avenues to gain a little insight into the sport. Books, magazines, TV, video, DVD, internet, radio, eBooks etc. It’s all there at your fingertips. Use that info to be better informed about the sport. This isn’t the only way to get a leg up on your quarry. Practice, practice, practice is the name of the game. This is just like any other sport where the more you practice and hone your skills, the more efficient you will become. Casting accuracy, flipping, pitching, setting the hook, manipulating lures, fighting fish, finding fish, etc. Every aspect of the sport can be improved upon and tweaked with a little practice. You’d be silly not to try to make yourself more effective. Reading and physically working at it is a small price to pay for the enjoyment and rewards you may achieve. Soldiers are not totally made on the battlefield, they are shaped during the fierce training that they must undergo in order to prepare for war.
Desire: The desire to be the leader or the best or to be successful is up to you. How you approach this game is only limited by what you think you can’t accomplish. Making the decision to become a serious angler or just an average angler is the difference. It has nothing to do with being a professional angler. I’m not a pro but I want to be the best that I can. My desire to accomplish that has led me to competitive success and even success in my fun fishing. The will to survive and conquer must be the desire of every soldier.
Planning: If you want to be serious and successful at bass fishing, your planning should start long before you get out on the water. Base your decisions on tackle and where you fish according to the season and what the bass should be doing. Most don’t understand but fishing is not simply casting and occasionally catching. It is so much deeper than that. Successful planning eliminates luck or incidental catches. Instead, you are prepared to formulate a game plan and adapt to the conditions that may change in the course of your day. These conditions should have been planned for. Fishing is a science and the better fisherman are the ones who obtain and exploit knowledge. The most successful military strikes are planned out long before they are executed.
The ability to change and adapt: Even the best planning can’t guarantee that things will go smoothly. When nature throws a monkey wrench into your plan, you should be prepared to react and change the method of operation. Weather conditions are the most rapid changing events out on the water and sometimes they can come out of nowhere. Learning how to adapt to the changes around you can separate you from the rest of the pack. Fleet of foot and traveling light, the US Marines can me deployed anywhere in the world within 24hrs. Changing on the fly is a culmination of the best training, planning and all of these factors. This leads to versatility and versatility is the key to bass fishing success.
Consider adding these things to your game plan. You will quickly evolve into a more efficient killing machine…..errrr, bass angler.