Fishing is a mental exercise. Concentration and constantly gathering and processing data are more important than the lure. Being able to process information while on the water is what separates the good from the great angler.
We have watched the fishing programs, read articles on fishing and gone to the fishing shows to hear the pros give a talk. What lake is hot, the new best lure, why they use a certain brand of equipment. We soak it in, pay our money and just know we will catch bass because we have the hot lure, the right equipment and the certainty the bass are there because, well, the pro caught a bunch of them.
So, we take ourselves to the lake and get skunked again. Now, why did this happen to us. Because we didn’t use our brain to gather or use the information we needed.
Here are some mental approaches and tidbits to help locate and catch bass.
Fishing is a mental exercise – Activity Level
When launching the boat, turn on the electronics immediately. While idling out of the cove, watch the fish finder for an “activity level”. This is the water depth where bait is located or things are happening. Every lake has an activity level. Start fishing at this depth. A simple task but one many anglers don’t do as they get ready for their first boat run.
Fishing is a mental exercise – Locate Forage
Locate forage for bass. Use the electronics to find shad, bluegill, hard bottom for craws, etc. Fish only in the areas where there is food for bass to feed on. No bait/no bass. The more forage, the better the spot may be.
Fishing is a mental exercise – Lures are Tools
Lures are tools. Like many of us, there are numerous tools in the box. Use the tool appropriate for the depth the forage is located. If there are lots of baitfish 10 ft. from the bottom, why throw a jig?
Fishing is a mental exercise – Concentrate
Concentrate on everything going on. Imagine what the lure is doing as it moves along. This will help identify a change in a lure’s movement meaning it has been eaten by bass. Not only will the “feel” identify a bite much better but it also keeps an angler focus on fishing.
Fishing is a mental exercise – Surroundings
Be aware of the surroundings. Are there birds diving on a shad school? Are there a lot of herons in the cove fishing? Are there rod holders on the next dock? Are they in front or to the side? All are important aspects to be successful.
Fishing is a mental exercise – Pay attention
How deep was the first and second bass caught? What type of structure or cover? What were they feeding on? Was the lure in shade or sun? Did the bass strike immediately or follow the lure? All this provides information to catch the next bass or make a change in fishing style.
This constant processing of information is what makes a great angler. This is just a start on the types of things to think about and becoming a better angler. The great anglers like KVD process information and make changes on the water faster than many of the other pros. And it shows in their titles, sponsorships and money winnings.
The rest of us, well, we just want to have fun and not get skunked.
Another great blog on how equipment preparation will also improve your bass fishing – Equipment Preparation versus Being Luck