GET A STRIKE first. No need to hook and land many during your search...

Consider the relationship between finding and catching bass. The former is about gathering information and processing it. The second is more of what vacationers from Nebraska get to do: shriek and reel ’em in.

Searching is learning. Catching is about rewards.

Over-simplified, sure. But the fact is in getting a sense of what’s going on (pre tournament)–many get rubber-legged and don’t believe their own eyes. Instead of confidently logging a discovery, they want the prize at the same time.

Instead of walking (driving) away, they keep hooking, disturbing or otherwise educating the fish they need to catch later.

I understand how this might happen, even though it’s been taught a thousand times. Nothing sticks in our individual psyche; nothing registers in our memories like that one we enticed to bite, hooked and landed. But practice fishing is not about learning all the options of fish behavior in a lake or even one cove in a lake.

It only matters that during your alotted practice you draw (discover) “a few dots” on your figurative gameplan. Your mind, through your own experiences, will connect the dots when it really matters–during tournament hours!

ONE BITE can tell you plenty...

The best anglers don’t always find all the answers in practice, but they don’t dwell on what they don’t know, rather they rely on what they have experienced. Back in July I referenced Gary Klein’s U.S. Open practice with hookless Texas rig (with a Blakemore Hitchhiker). More recently I watched Dean Rojas fish a chugger with all the hook points bent closed except one on the feathered trailer.

These pros wanted to generate strikes, but they didn’t have to hook many fish as they ran widely separated areas to confirm a pattern. But being more frugal rather than less frugal hooking fish is even more critical if an area “looks good.” Brent Ehrler, in a Bass-A-thon seminar warned that if it looked good to you, it looked good to every other savvy pro who passed by the area.

If you stick one and so do a dozen others behind you, that spot is done, done, done!

If there is a wider time-gap between your search and the actual competition, you can take a few more swings and you can go after the “easy” fish. You know the term “search bait,” but there is no one lure required to speed up the hunt. Ehrler says jerkbait, but heavier jig heads or sinkers can be employed in places where you might actually go smaller or slower on gameday.

The search really only requires that you find a location or location type for the fish and then some clue of their willingness to bite–and that’s your practice. To do more than that steals from your chances of getting a check.




One Response to “Searching (pre-fishing) is not about ‘catching’”

Ahh… nice piece George. It rings so true.