Why is it, as bass fishing anglers, we have a difficult time learning a new presentation? It’s called bass fishing new bait syndrome. We read articles, talk with fellow bass anglers or watch bass fishing shows making us believe a new presentation is going to allow us to catch more bass. Next, we research, buy baits and sometimes rods and reels for the presentation. Finally, once on the water, we make a few casts, decide it doesn’t feel right, and revert to presentations we’ve used for years.
The main reason for returning to tried and true practices hinges around our limited time on the water. Whether a tournament angler or weekend bass angler, we try to manage our time to catch as many bass as we can. We work all week for a few hours of fishing time each weekend. Wanting to make the most of our valuable time on the water, it’s all too easy to put down new presentations and pick up something we’ve trusted for years. Time is our demise when it comes to learning new presentations.
Techniques take time to learn, and even more to master. Rarely will a bass angler hit the water with a new technique and immediately start catching bass. New techniques require commitment and patience. To become an effective tool in our bass fishing arsenal, we have to dedicate time to learning.
A bass angler has to commit to learning a new presentation. I’ve read many times that the best way to learn a new presentation is to limit yourself to a specific presentation for an entire day of fishing. I disagree with this. You will get frustrated if the presentation does not produce and more than likely end the day early.
I do think that an angler has to be honest with presentations. Ten, fifteen, even fifty casts is not enough to develop an understanding of a new technique. Think about your confidence bait. How many times have you worked an entire bank line or offshore ridge without a single bite, yet continue to throw that same bait. You might try different speeds, depths, cover options, but you’re still using the same bait. Before you know it, you’ve worked miles of the lake and shown the bass only one option. Lure stagnation is very common; anglers get so confident in a bait that it becomes an all or nothing. “If they won’t eat a black and red flake craw worm, then they just aren’t eating”.
Instead of limiting yourself to a new presentation, I recommend taking it and your confidence bait. Now you have two options. If you are struggling with a new presentation or getting bored, pick up your confidence bait and find the cadence, speed, or location that will trigger bites. Once you have a couple bites, switch back to the new presentation and apply the same things you’ve discovered.
The bait that causes anglers the most trouble is the “Jig”. It’s the simplest and most versatile of all baits, yet most anglers struggle with it. If you are a soft plastics angler, there is no reason you shouldn’t be absolutely confident in a jig. The majority of the presentations an angler uses when fishing soft plastics apply to fishing a jig.
An angler that understands soft plastic presentations and wants to learn how to catch bass on a jig should take one jig rod and one soft plastic rod to the lake. Using your confidence soft plastic baits determine where the bass are holding and what retrieve is drawing the majority of strikes. Once you have a pattern dialed in, switch to the jig. Consider fall rates in determining what size jig to use and continue the same pattern. You can use your favorite soft plastic choice as a trailer for your jig to increase your confidence. Now it’s just a matter of putting the jig in the same places the soft plastic was drawing strikes. Hop, shake, drag the same way, and the jig will draw strikes.
Spinnerbaits and crank baits can be applied the same way as the jig and soft plastic. However, anglers have to get over the fear of getting hung up with the crank bait. Start with shallow presentations, and you’ll always be able to retrieve your crank bait should it hang. With experience, you’ll quickly learn that crank baits are as weedless as a spinner bait in hard cover.
Learning a new presentation requires time, patience and commitment. Set aside a few days, research the presentation, acquire the proper equipment, and practice to develop the skills. There are hundreds of ways to catch a bass, and versatility has proven to be a vital asset in hunting our quarry. Take the time to become confident in a variety of presentations so you are ready for anything the bass or Mother Nature throws at you.
Get the Net it’s a Hawg