Lakecaster Online

Staying teachable
by JEFF BUCHANAN

At the recent B.A.S.S. tournament held on lake of the Ozarks, I was placed in the predicament of drawing a partner that was catching his fish in a very unorthodox style. In a draw tournament such as this one, you are obligated to let your partner run the boat on his fish for half the day. And after we spent forty minutes on my area, he suggested we run his pattern for an hour to see if his fish would bite. The strongest bite on the lake was in three foot or less water, and 90% of the fish were caught shallow. When we went to my partner's fish, he took me to boat docks in fifty feet of water and started throwing around these docks. Being the skeptic the I can sometimes be, and knowing that the shallow bite was strong, I didn't want to waste my tournament time on these docks fishing for spotted bass or a few scattered small fish that he might have found in practice. Well, I was wrong. I ended up catching a good limit on his fish, saved my fish for the next two competitions days and ended up with a 22nd place finish on a lake that cost me from making the top 100 circuit last year. But the biggest lesson is one that bass fishing has taught me over and over, "STAY TEACHABLE."

Nobody ever gets this sport down pat. There are too many variables. Which part of the lake do I fish, what depth are the fish holding, what kind of structure and cover, what lure, what color? You can increase the list ad infinitum. So finally you get all these variables down: you know how, where, why and the big blue norther comes in. The big fish you were bragging about the day before shrunk to non-keepers, and, due to not being able to adjust, you're scratching your head again. This game can make you crazy.

Whether you are a novice fisherman learning the hard lessons of bass fishing, or the seasoned pro who makes a check just about every tournament you fish, you should take advantage of any information you can pick up from other fishermen. I know as a guide on Lake Sam Rayburn, to never tell a client that a lure will not work. The moment that I say that, the fish will start eating it and I'll be digging for one myself. It's a crazy game that we have grown to love.

There are several ways to better your fishing success without getting on the water. I lived in Ohio when I started bass fishing and we wouldn't be able to fish from October to March. During this down time there are several things that I could do to improve my angling skills. The first was to read about the sport, and watch fishing programs on TV. Second, I would practice pitching and flipping around the house. Third, I would go to the Cincinnati sport show and attend all the bass fishing seminars by the pros. And the last thing that I would do in the off season, was to go to a fishing seminar put on by local pro, Joe Thomas. Every January Joe would gather four or five of the top fishermen around and bring them in for a day-long classroom style seminar. I always found this to be the most beneficial. At these seminars, you can get the inside scoop on techniques, and secrets that will mean more fish at the end of the fishing day. I would always take a notebook and take pages of notes. These notes I could read throughout the fishing season, and they would give me lots of ideas on what to do, or better yet, what I might be doing wrong. I really miss this kind of instruction, because I haven't really found it in the East Texas area. I fish professionally and guide full time, but I'm not afraid at all to say I've got room to improve.

To remedy this need to learn more about this sport and the activities, I decided to have the first East Texas Bass Fishing Seminar. After a few months it has finally fallen into place and will be held in Lufkin, Texas on January 30, 1999. The line-up of speakers sounds like the who's who of Texas bass pros: Lonnie Stanley, Homer Humphries, David Wharton, Randy Dearman and Tommy Martin. Each of these guys will talk at length about certain topics and the last hour will be spent in a panel discussion, with you asking the questions. I will be the MC of the event and will be spending most of the time soaking in what these guys have to say. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to put on this for the East Texas area, and hope that you get the opportunity to come and be with us.

You will be able to find information on the event at local tackle shops, and in this issue of the Lakecaster magazine. For more information call 409-824-3161. That is my home number. Just ask for information about the seminar. Hope you all can attend.

Thanks to our sponsors that help to put this event on: Lufkin Marine (who will have lots of boats in the hotel lot) Triton boats, Lake Fork Tackle, Castaway Rods, profishinreport.com, Evinrude Outboards, and Stanley Lures.

See you on the lake.

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