Disclaimer: “Bass Fishing For Dummies” is not meant to be condescending in any way. What it’s meant to signify more than anything is a simplification of your approach to catching more bass. And while this is easily aimed at the beginning bass angler, I also believe that it behooves ALL of us to take a step back sometimes and take a look at what we’re doing and how we approach this great sport. I hope that my forthcoming articles will help someone in their bass fishing endeavors. Good luck!
The Oldest Analogy- Keeping It SIMPLE
Boy, I’m not sure how a person that is new to the sport of bass fishing can handle all of it. I mean, besides the choices and variations in lures, line, rods, reels, and everything else it seems even to me, a guy who has been bass fishing for over forty years, to be a mind-boggling and confusing mess. Just the choices in modern electronics alone is enough to spin the average bass fisherman’s wheels right off.
And then we have the internet. As much a blessing as it is a curse, with all kinds of great information, but mixed in we find all kinds of opinions and ideas that sometimes seem to be the very pinnacle of rubber-room confusion. Whew! What do we do?
Oh boy, here we go- a major and groundbreaking plan to fix it all for you. An earth-shattering fix than anyone can follow. I hope that you’re ready, because this really rocks it-
Keep it SIMPLE.
Pretty cool, right? Told ya. Now you know how a “pro” fisherman solves all of the problems. Well, maybe not ALL of them, but it’s a start, right?
Okay, sorry. I’m being a smarty pants to a degree, but I’m very sincere in my point. You do NOT have to have all of this really cool stuff to catch bass, period. That’s just the way that it is. I started bass fishing at twelve years of age with the cheapest spin cast reel made, and a whippy, two-piece solid fiberglass rod. But with it I caught my first bass, then learned to cast and retrieve several types of lures on it until I became proficient. I gained confidence fairly early on. And did I want something better? Oh, you bet I did. The next year I stepped up to an actual BASS fishing rod, and I upgraded my reel to the SECOND cheapest one that you could buy (I did add a “power handle” to it however!). It was a significant improvement, and although it was light years behind what’s available to anglers today, I used that rod and reel to solidify my skills as a beginning bass angler, and my confidence soared.
Confidence is everything to a bass fisherman, whether you’re a newbie or seasoned pro, and having confidence in your tackle and techniques is more often than not the difference between success and failure. Remember that, please.
The following year I got my first level wind bait cast reel, and that opened up a new world of enjoyment for me that has continued to this day. So, good (better) equipment is a bonus- but having the BEST equipment? Probably not so much. A first time drag racer will fair far better with a small block Chevy. You work your way up to a blown Nitro Funny Car. You bet.
You do not need “technique specific” rods, reels and lines to be a successful bass fisherman. Will they help you catch more bass somewhere down the road? Yes, most likely they will. But you need to learn, an EARN these skills if you want to be a well-rounded bass angler. When I was a kid (oh man, here he goes again…) and started SERIOUSLY bass fishing, and also because I was poor, I knew that I had to add on slow. My first “real” rod was that medium heavy glass one that I used for several years. Being glass it was pretty forgiving and handled a variety of lures. My next two rods were my first graphites, and I bought another medium heavy and a heavy action. Between these three rods I could handle every single lure and technique that I had available to me at the time. And boy, did I.
My first “technique specific” buy was the next year (you see how I progressed here?) and that was a true 7′ 6″ Flippin’ rod. It was a much needed addition that I couldn’t live without today, and in fact would probably be my first choice if I had to use just one rod. Next was a true crankbait rod, a 6′ 6″ medium action glass pole that has also held its own over the years as a much needed part of my gear that fit my style and skills, and still does to this day.
Later on I remember getting some specific rods for topwaters and jerk baits, and although I’m not a huge spinning rod guy I also saw the need for them in my arsenal, and still do. But the point is that I took a long time to do all of this- it was my fifth and sixth year of bass fishing, and I had also started to fish tournaments, before I had the five or six rods that I felt like pretty much allowed me to do what I needed to do to catch bass. And I did. I wish I had the confidence in my abilities nowadays that I had in the early 80’s. Man, do I.
This discussion really hasn’t included lures, but I hope that I’ve made my point. Keep it simple. A couple of decent rods and reels will set you back less than three hundred dollars. Sometimes considerably less. Get a medium and a medium heavy rod to start with. Learn with them. Get by until you get some confidence at catching bass before you step up. I promise that if you do this, taking some time to learn the basics first, then the nuances second, that you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience. I would just about guarantee it. I see frustration in internet forums all the time from newbies who are using all of the latest gizmos and just are not catching the bass like they want to. Don’t be one of these guys. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
And if you’re one of those folks who has the need for every new rod, reel, lure and technique to come down the pike, then please disregard all that you’ve just read, especially if it works, and I mean really works for you. You’re a one percenter, or better, and good for you.
Go catch ’em!