Over the past several years while teaching my 3-day bass fishing school students, fishing with charter clients, teaching seminars, and helping many kids to focus more on fishing than partying, I get asked many questions on a wide variety of subjects concerning bass fishing. I also get approximately 100 to 150 emails from all over the globe each week from anglers trying to get a better understanding on baits, equipment, presentations, water conditions, and on and on and on. I hope with this article I may be able to answer some of these questions and give a little better understanding and help limit some of the frustration many anglers seem to have with their questions. I will use actual questions (in their own words) from some of the emails I get along with some of the "Ask a Pro" questions directed to me from several internet sites I write for.
Creighton from Georgia asks: Hello again Roger, I had another question pop into my head. When fishing tournaments every fish counts. With this, say you hook a fish that you know is going to be a good keeper/upgrade or what you may call it, and you lose him on the way in. How long could it be before that fish may bite again, and if so would it go after same bait, and return to same cover as before? As always thanks for everything Creighton
Answer: This is a question that gets asked by many anglers. My answer to this question is yes; sometimes the bass will hit the same bait again right away and sometimes later on the same day. For example, I have worked a certain bait around a piece of structure in clear water and watched a bass come up and hit it, then when setting the hook I somehow missed it and made another cast (with the same bait) and the bass hit the bait a second time and I landed it. There are also times where I would be fishing an area with certain baits and hooked the bass, but reeling it in the line would snap and I would loose it. Later on the same day I would go back to the same place and catch the same bass with the bait I used earlier still in its mouth. A bass has a very short memory span and will definitely hit twice or even a third time on the same day!
Butch from Ohio asks:- I have a problem getting a hook set with a weedless jig the guard seems to be to stiff any solution THANK YOU
Answer: I have had this problem myself for years and finally came up with actually two solutions. First, I found that if you use a wide gap hook on a weedless jig it will help catch more bass. Secondly, I will take a weedless jig right out of the package and take half of the weed guard strands and cut them off as low to the base of the weed guard as possible. This will allow much more flexibility with the weed guard and will definitely give you a better chance of setting the hook!
Glen from Africa asks: - coach, I am a missionaries son here in africa and fish some of the local tournaments. I have seen lots of bass caught on a torpedo but am having a hard time catching them any suggestions?
Answer: A Torpedo falls into actually two categories, the first one being a "top water bait" and the second being a "prop bait". There is really no right or wrong way to use (or present) this type of bait. I recommend that when working this type of bait you should let the bass dictate on any given day how they would want it. For example; if the bass seem to be active, try working it a bit quicker thus giving it more action and water disturbance, and if you don’t get any action from that, simply slow it down. I have personally found a technique (or presentation) that always seems to work the best for me by; casting the bait, as soon as it hits the water I will give it a very light twitch and just let it set for a moment. After letting it set for a moment I will again give 1 or 2 more light twitch’s letting it sit again for about 10 to 15 seconds all the way back to where I’m standing. Whether the fish or active or inactive this seems to work great for me. This works for all types of prop baits and not just the Torpedo!
Julie from Arkansas - Dear Mr. Brown, my husband fishes many tournaments but never makes any money at it. He seems to need everything he sees in the catalogs as well as on the shelves in several different stores. My question to you is, does he really need all that stuff for fishing? We are on a tight budget and I feel that he spends way too much with his fishing instead of putting our money where it is needed. Can you give me any suggestions? Thanks, Julie
Answer: Wow, this question is probably one of the biggest questions I struggle with from many anglers as well as with family members of anglers. The bass fishing industry has rapidly grown into a multi billion dollar industry over the past several years and there are more baits and equipment on the market for anglers that a person can actually count. I have helped many anglers who attended my 3-day bass fishing school understand what is really needed and what is not really practical to buy depending on their affordability. For example, does an angler need a dozen different rods to fish with using all the different baits? Or, does an angler need the most expensive reels money can buy? Let me suggest to you that I teach "Smart Spending" to my students. To give you an idea of what I mean is that I have put together one box that consists of a top compartment with 3 slide out plastic boxes which I can take anywhere in the United States and within the contents of the box I can catch bass on any body of water at just about any time with what’s in the box. As far as rods and reels go, it is nice to have several different rods for each technique or application, but I can get by with just 3 different rods for all the different baits that are mostly used by anglers today (I would just have to re-tie a lot, but you can do it.) As far as reels go, it depends on the type(s) of reels you use i.e. baitcaster, spinning, or spincast reels. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages on these different reels, but it’s what you can afford and simply getting use to any one of them. Just remember like anything else, you usually get what you pay for as far as quality goes. I have found that there are a handful of baits that can cover top water, in between, and bottom fishing that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get started, and one step better, these baits are universal. These baits have worked anywhere from California to Texas, and from Minnesota to the East Coast with great success!
Laura from North Carolina - Hi, my name is Laura and my dream job is a pro fisherman, but for one I'm a girl. For two, I love fishing, but only usually get to during the summer. I just thought I'd ask for a little advice.. Thanks!
Answer: I think that this wonderful, in fact in one of my past articles I talk about "It's not just a guy’s thing anymore!" I have had several women students attend my 3 day bass fishing school and found most of them to be actually better than many of the male students. If you put your mind to it and work hard for what you want, you usually get it. In your case, I would recommend that you might look into my 3-day bass fishing school, not only to learn competitive measures in bass fishing but to hopefully steer you in the right direction. Keep them dreams you have and try to make them a reality!
Bryant from Florida - I have an Abu Garcia ambassador black max-L and I have been messing with the knob and I still backlash a lot any tips.
Answer: I’m afraid to say that I haven’t known any angler (ever) using a baitcaster reel that never backlashes it. The whole secret to using a baitcaster is thumb control along with a little adjustment to the bait that you use. Most baitcaster reels have a plate covering the side of the reel (usually opposite of the handle side) that when taking it off you can see little rollers on the bottom of the spool. I will always take the rollers and move them out one click, this helps slow down the free spooling motion a bit. Next, I will adjust the magnetic break on the outside of the same plate after putting it back on the reel about 75% on. This will also help slow the free spooling motion of the reel by giving it some resistance. Now, the next step I feel is the most important in preventing backlashes when casting bait. After you tie on the bait, push the thumb bar (releasing the bait) and tighten the knob (break) on the side of the handle as the bait falls. You want to tighten the knob (or break) so that it stops free falling but just tight enough that if you twitch the tip of your rod the bait will only drop a few inches, and that’s it! You will find that using a baitcaster will be a lot more fun and you should spend more time fishing with it than trying to pull out them nasty backlashes.
Baitcaster reels are by far more accurate, easier to use, than spinning and spincast reels and a must for certain types of bass fishing like Flippin’ & Pitchin’. I never have had a student that I haven’t taught or shown how to use a baitcaster reel while attending my 3-day bass fishing school. You will find that most, not all!, but most pros use baitcaster reels for most of their bass fishing techniques. Now, the next times you get a backlash just remember the simple adjustments along with thumb control and you should have much more fun. Then when you do backlash (yes, it will happen but not as often) you can call it a "Professional Override" don’t that sound so much nicer that that ugly word BACKLASH?
Nicolas from Ontario - Dear Bass Coach, is a spinnerbait still effective on bass if you fish from the shore?
Answer: Spinnerbaits are a great bait to use whether you fish from shore or from a boat. I have found one spinnerbait in one size and one color that travels with me anywhere I go in or out of state. Yes, I did say only one! This special spinnerbait has caught many fish from shore as well as fishing from a boat, in fact I have literally out fished every spinnerbait with my special one that I use no matter of what brand, size or color my student, charter client, or tournament partner was using. The spinnerbait is one of the most versatile baits on the market because it can be worked at least six different ways very successfully. The secret to the spinnerbait I use is not just the color and size but the modification I do to it. I can give a spinnerbait as much as five times the vibration with a little modification right out of the package which has made a difference between catching and not catching bass at certain times. The different ways to present a spinnerbait are; "waking or bulging" on top of the water, the "chunk and wind" (which is mostly used by anglers), "yo-yo’ing or "pumping" in and around structure, "slow rolling" which is probably one of the best ways to catch the lunker bass, "worming it" just like a plastic worm through and around vegetation areas, and "vertically jigging" the bait. I will share the modification that I do to this spinnerbait with you because I have never known any other pro share this secret with the general public in the past. The first thing you want to make sure of is using a spinnerbait with a colorado/willow blade combination. I found that by taking a pair of needle nose pliers, with the colorado blade only (the round blade), horizontally slide the pliers down about ½ an inch from the tip of the blade and reverse bend it to about a 45% angle. This will actually give the spinnerbait at least five times more vibration than it was designed to put out, in fact it will actually feel more like working a crankbait going through the water than a spinnerbait.
I will continue other articles with questions and answers as time permits. If you would like to contact me for a speaking engagement, seminar, 3-day bass fishing school (in your area or mine), or just a charter you cal call me at (518) 597-4240, or Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at: "The Bass Coach" , 243 Pearl Street, Crown Point, NY 12928 (Lake Champlain Area) or visit my website at www.capital.net/~rlbrown
Until next time, take care & may God bless you "Always!"
'The Bass Coach' - Roger Lee Brown