Ultimate Bass

Be Versatile in the Norm

Mike Cork American Bass Anglers tournament

We read the latest bass fishing magazine articles and we watch the latest bass fishing television shows, all trying to learn more about bass fishing. Trying to find that secret weapon that unlocks the doorway to never ending catches. Why do we rely on these forms of media to tell us what to do? Is it because they are the professionals of our sport and know all? We are all free thinkers; we all have ideas, and we all have the ability to put these ideas to action and see if they will work. If you see something on television or read about it in a magazine, well you’re not going to be the first to try it. Coming up with something different can be that magical key. If you can develop something that presents baits to bass where they live and make them look appealing, you will catch bass. If you can be the first to do it, bass will not be conditioned to the presentation, and you’ll have that never ending catch; well, for a while anyway.

Try different things within the standard baits and presentations. Why do we have to wait for the professional anglers to tell us this or that is a good idea or will catch fish. Take the drop shot, for example, it’s nothing more than a catfish rig that anglers have been using since the beginning of fishing. I have to be honest, I would have never thought to put a soft plastic worm on it and shake it. Pretty smart, or was it out of necessity for someone just learning? Why did it take a professional of the sport to win a tournament before anyone took it serious. Wacky rigging, this one blows me away. Why was this so unpopular in the beginning? When I was a kid we used to do this simply because you couldn’t get the hook to stay in the head of the worm anymore. We couldn’t afford new plastic worms, so we got all we could out of them. Now it’s a staple in many boats.

So many things I do on a regular basis come from necessity. As was said by someone I don’t know, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” As we need things to accomplish a task, our brains go to work, and we make it happen; for some of us anyway; many will wait until they can go to the store and see if there is already a fix for the problem or situation. Here’s a perfect example. I was fishing with a guy that had decided he needed a trailer hook for his spinnerbait. After digging through his box, he found the hook but no keepers. He decided that he would fish without the trailer hook and made a mental note that he needed to get some more next time he was at the tackle store. I asked why he didn’t simply cut a small piece of plastic worm or something and slide it on the hook to hold the trailer hook in place. His response was that he just didn’t think about it. This was simple, but gets the point across.

Many new presentations and techniques stem from an angler thinking about how to present baits to bass that might be different or unique from what they see every day. Sometimes presentations are developed to handle a specific situation. A good example would be matted vegetation. How many anglers would have thought a bass would grab a bait moving Mach 3 through the vegetation, much less hang onto it after they grabbed it and it weighed a full 2 ounce in their jaw. It took a professional angler winning tournaments before the rest of the world decided it was okay? If we keep a closed mind like this, we will never fully understand bass and how to catch them.

There are too many anglers that like to tinker with baits for there not to be more expansion in our tools to catch bass. Instead of looking for the next greatest bait, maybe some tweaks inside what we already know to work could be better. Before the drop shot, shakey head, and flick shake, there was the Texas rig, Carolina rig, and Eufaula rig; have we maxed out the potential of the plastic worm? I highly doubt it.

How do you start to be creative? First, think about where your bass are hiding, and then think about what they are eating. Next, decide what you would like to present to them, so you have a chance to draw a strike. The drop shot was developed for deep, suspended bass, but now is used for a multitude of applications from spawning bass to working standing timber. Spinnerbaits used to come with a single round blade, now you can get them with up to five different blades in all shapes and sizes. The float and fly, a Carolina rigged crankbait, drilling holes in jerkbaits; the list of things we’ve done in the past is endless. What does the future hold? It could be a secret you’re keeping all to yourself.

My point is that we don’t have to wait for the professional anglers to tell us that it will work. If you have an idea that might put a bait in front of a bass and make that bait look appealing, try it. There is no shame in bass fishing. Some of the things I’ve tried have been classified as weird by other anglers, but when I’m catching bass, I don’t care!

Get the Net it’s a Hawg
Mike Cork
Ultimate Bass
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Mercury Marine
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