There are thousands if not tens of thousands of different baits on the market today. If you add in all the color combinations avaliable in those baits, you will surely hit a million different baits to choice from. Most of us choose baits based on seasonal patterns, our favorite colors, and maybe take into consideration what our buddy told us last week. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, we all read the latest fishing magazine lining out the hottest new baits of the year! So which bait to do start with?
We all have many tools in our tackle boxes, from top water lures to Carolina rigs, which will catch bass in many situations. However, the most important tool doesn’t fit in your tackle box; it’s called “Confidence”. Confidence is the single most important tool you can have with you on the water when bass fishing. With out confidence you are just aimlessly casting baits into the water. If you don’t believe that the next cast or pitch is going to produce a strike then why make it? So what is confidence? And more importantly where do I get it?
Being confident, is knowing the next cast is going to produce a strike! Whether it’s because of the bait you are using, the area you are fishing, or the weather conditions. If you can tie all three of these factors together, you will be in a high state of confidence and this is what the pro’s call being “In the Zone!” When you are “In the Zone” fish seem to jump in the boat for you. This is because you are working your bait properly, at the right speed, at the right depth, in the right cover, at the right time of day.
To get to these high levels of confidence takes a tremendous amount of practice and experience. An angler must get on the water in all different types of conditions and learn what makes a bass strike in varying situations. To achieve high levels of confidence in your abilities you must hit the water in all possible weather, water, and seasonal conditions. Sure we all can catch bass on an over cast day with stained water during the pre-spawn. However you must also find a way to catch bass in post front conditions in the dead of winter when the water is as muddy as a Hershey’s chocolate bar. You know you have hit a high level of confidence when you get to the ramp and see that muddied up reservoir and don’t start shaking your head, rather get excited about the potential patterns that will possibly catch fish in these conditions.
Once achieved confidence can be easily broken. It is very important for anglers to realize this and realize when it’s happening. Whether you are a weekend angler or a tournament angler we are always fishing against a clock, our game plan for the day is running through our head, and lets face it Mother Nature is not always kind. If we let any of these factors frustrate us our confidence is in trouble.
Frustration leads to speeding up our presentations which in turn leads to poor casting and more hang ups, which leads to more frustration. Soon your casts are not as accurate, they land off target, get hung in over hanging limbs, and hit the water with large loud splashes. Now because of poor bait presentation the bites are few and far between, if at all, so we start to question our location or bait choice. This becomes a snow ball effect and can ruin a perfectly planned day on the water. The best things you can do are stop, take a deep breathe and relax.
Knowing theses factors of frustration and realizing them when they happen can improve your confidence and keep you in the zone. Take Mother Nature for example? When the wind changes direction or speeds up this could call for a bait change or a location change. Bass will congregate on wind blown points. Wind blows shad onto a shallow flat, or wash crawdads off a rocky bank line. We all know this stuff; use it to your advantage!
Confidence to catch bass while fishing with on particular water way, with particular baits or presentation of those baits is very hard to achieve. The only way to get it is through practice and experience. Experience with different baits, waterways and conditions will greatly improve your confidence in choosing baits and productively working them. Practicing your casting and pitching will help remove one of the most frustrating factors of all, hang ups. Most of us have a great deal of confidence and don’t realize it. When you make that first cast of the day, what bait did you choose? Why did you choose it? You picked it because you had confidence that it would work! Find your confidence, use it and keep it.
Get the Net It’s a Hawg