As a Bass Tournament Angler, I get caught up in the need to pre-fish for the next tournament. Seems like every weekend, from October to June, there is an event that I am preparing for. Because of this, I’m usually fishing alone. Tournaments sometimes take us to lakes that are not the best for the given time of year. Combine this with the fact that when I pre-fish for bass tournaments I’m not going to hook many bass, and I’m going to be jumping around the lake or river quite a bit. Normally this is not a good time to enjoy the boat with a bass fishing friend.
Before I got so wrapped up in tournament angling, I used to fish with several anglers. Some of those outings were the best I’ve had and generated memories that I’ll never forget. Along with having a great time, fishing with other anglers gives you experience that you would not otherwise have.
Taking a variety of anglers fishing can only improve your bass catching abilities. Now I’m not talking about learning their secret spots. Taking someone fishing just to get the inside line on a hot spot is not only un-cool, but it’s liable to get you in a fist fight. There is so much to learn besides locations. If you pay attention to how the location is fished, you can find your own similar structure or cover and develop hot spots of your own. I’m off track here, but wanted to cover that.
The biggest benefit to my bass fishing knowledge has come from watching other anglers fish techniques I’m either not aware of or don’t understand. The drop shot is the perfect example for me. It’s a technique that I didn’t feel had any applications in the shallow waters that I normally fish. I never gave it much credit and didn’t even explore it. One day, I had the pleasure of fishing with an angler that was considered a master of the drop shot. From the northeastern United States, he used a drop shot as often and in places that I do a jig. He proceeded to catch some quality fish up to 6 pounds from the back of the boat, and all in less than 6 feet of water. Needless to say, I took notice and sucked up everything I could about drop shotting that day. Now it’s not a technique I have a lot of confidence in yet, but I’ve seen it work and know there are applications for it that I’ve been overlooking.
Taking other anglers bass fishing not only can teach you new techniques, but it can refresh your memory about old techniques. Things you’ve done in the past, but as seasons changed your presentations did as well, and things were forgotten. Others may have adapted new ideas to old techniques to improve them. What anglers can learn from each other on the water is endless. I see and hear it all the time; one angler complains about a technique while another angler is catching bass after bass on it. Get with members of your bass fishing club, contact other local anglers, fish draw tournaments; there are a number of ways to fish with other anglers. The hard part is opening your mind when you do, so that you can learn something.
There is a rewarding flip side to this as well; you can teach others how to fish your specialty. By trading information and showing each other how to present techniques and catch more bass we are making each other better anglers. I have taught several anglers the power of punching heavy mats of vegetation. Does that hurt me in tournaments? I don’t think so. You still have to find the winning stringer. But, what it did do, was help me improve my punching techniques. When you teach someone something, if they are paying attention they will ask questions. These questions cause you to think about your process. Sometimes when you put two heads together, you can find better ways to accomplish the same goal. When I answer questions, I’m thinking about what I’m saying and trying to give information that best answers the question; this makes you think. Thinking is good.
When you take someone fishing for the first time, there is a lot to talk about. When you get in the boat with me for the first time, you better enjoy conversation on the water because you’re about to get it. You build great friendships when your common ground is bass fishing. I can’t tell you how many times my network of “Fishing Buddies” has helped me out of a jam or saved me some money on maintenance to the house or vehicles.
Bottom line, fishing with other anglers is rewarding. You’ll learn, you’ll teach, you’ll laugh, and you’ll build friendships that last lifetimes.
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