Once again winter has set in. All of us as anglers are engulfed in bass fishing catalogs and memories of last years bass fishing trips. This is an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned in past seasons. We should take time to analyze our mistakes and correct them. Many of us have our favorite bass fishing lures or go to baits. This is great, but it can also be a great handicap on your ability to grow as a bass angler.
Each year I order multiple bags of green pumpkin tubes from Bass Pro Shops. This is my favorite bait and my greatest failure. It has been the first and last bait in the water for years. This tube has caught many limits of bass and won many tournaments. There have also been many zeros with them too. As anglers, we try to duplicate what we have done in the past, to catch bass, even if the bass don’t want it. The attitude, we’ve caught bass before on this lure, will not last forever. We must learn to read the water and give the bass their favorite bait.
This lesson was taught to me on a weeknight tournament when my partner made me net man, and I also performed the culling. The jerk bait bite was on! He was flipping bass in the boat faster than I could weigh them and cull. The tube produced two bass while the jerk bait produced eleven. If not for my partner’s versatility, that could have been just another average night. I failed to realize that the shad were schooling up away from the bank, and so were the bass. Trying to fish where they were the week before was a foolish mistake repeated often up until that day. It is a good place to start, but you have to be willing to observe what the bass are doing that day, not the week before.
So go head and use your favorite bait, but dedicate to trying something different if and when the bass are not biting. In my case take everything out of the boat but the jerk baits, this will force you to learn a new technique. I spend lots of money each year on bass tackle, but in all honesty I only use ten percent of the new stuff. I tend to stick with what caught bass last year. A new attitude should be, “what’s your favorite bait – whatever the fish are biting.”
As we flip through the endless pages of baits in those catalogs, think of our lessons learned. Maybe new crank baits or a different color is the ticket. Try something to give your fishing a different variable. We all should learn to use every bait in the tackle bag, not just your favorite one.