Have you ever stepped back and took a hard look at the members of you local bass club, and wondered why it is so hard to beat them come tournament day? I have always considered myself to be about an average bass club member I even managed to win angler of the year in our club a couple of years ago. But if you take that hard look you may be surprised to learn that average club member doesn’t really exist. They’re all specialist at something or are doing something nobody else in the club is doing. We all fish a little differently from each other.
A case in point in our club would be Mike, the frog man. To Mike the frog is not just a tool in his arsenal, throwing a frog is his definition of fishing. I believe if he ever ventured far enough north to where the lakes were frozen over, he’d be the type of guy that would cut a hole in the ice then stand back and throw a frog as far across the ice as possible then drag it up to the hole believing a big ole bass will follow his offering to the hole he cut out of the ice. In our competition for angler of the year the first couple of months are tough on him and usually find him at or near the bottom of the standings. As the weather warms he will make his run, consistently catching some of the biggest bass and weighing in some of the biggest sacks.
A club wouldn’t be complete without a guy like Mark, the hole setter. Mark only needs about a hundred square feet on a 60,000 acre lake to fish a tournament. I don’t know where he gets the patience and confidence to set in one spot and grind it out all day, especially when the bite is tough. I know if I went for as long as he does sometimes without a bite, that I would be spending too much time wondering how the others in the club were doing second guessing myself and the strategy I was using that day. Where our previously mentioned frogman is usually slow out of the starting block on those first couple of cold wet and miserable months of the year Mark really shines. I usually find myself playing catch up and spending the rest of the year trying to run him down in the point standings.
The list could go on and on, but once you get the basic fundamentals down and learn a little about bass, the more of a diverse group of anglers we become. The bass population in most waters is also a very diverse species. Some like to live in shallow water some like the deep. Some bass like to hide in the lily pads and stump fields to ambush their prey, some are open water hunters. The time of year, water temperature and type of weather influence the types of bass a little differently. Once you develop a fishing style you enjoy and have success and confidence in, you should study the habits of the particular type of bass you are after, to fine tune your own particular fishing style.
It’s a good thing to learn new fishing techniques and be a diverse more well rounded angler, but just keep in mind that we are predators and like all the other predators of this world there will be days when we should stick to doing what we do best, be it a cheetah that uses his great speed, the wolf that hunts in packs or the tiger that hides in ambush. Taking a look at the members of our bass club I can see where sometimes there greatest strengths can also be their weakness. I also know as I am launching my boat on tournament day, that the weather conditions, time of year, the type of lake that we are on or just the stars lining up right, as they say in cards will be playing into somebody’s hand. The winner of the tournament won’t necessarily be the most talented knowledgeable or best overall angler on the water that day. The winner will be the guy that uses what talent and knowledge he has, to beat enough quality bass on the lake that day. He will also probably just be your average club member.