How do you get an edge? The little things


Fishing for bass has become complex hasn’t it? The selection of baits, electronics, line, gear…etc can be overwhelming at times. I have a lot of tackle, too much tackle in fact. Much has been said about keeping it simple when fishing. For me, keeping it simple means what I am doing – do it well. I have a lot of habits now, but it has taken time to develop my style and approach to fishing. I know what I am good at and what I am weak at, so when I need a bit, guess what I do? In an effort to give myself an edge I have certain “things” that I believe make a difference in my success. I call these “the little things.” This article discusses my favorites.

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  • Hooks – My hook is the most important piece of tackle I have! Why would I fish with anything other than the sharpest hook (and there are many brands). I know it sounds obvious but I see it all the time; a dull hook and the wrong hook. Generally, I like to fish the largest hook I can get away with in the given situation. I match the right hook with the right bait and I make sure it’s sharp.

    Scent – If you’re throwing a worm or a jig and not using scent you’re at a disadvantage. It is well known fish hold on to the bait longer when that bait is covered in scent. I always use scent and reapply throughout the day. I have started using scent on my swimbaits and do think it has made a difference.

    Retie my line – Sounds standard but hey we all get lazy right? If you have been bouncing that c-rig in the rocks all day take a moment to re-tie your line. That next bite may be the BIG one. Make it a habit and it becomes automatic. I retie often.

    Electronics – Every time I get a bite I instantly look at my graph to see the depth and activity. Then I look at the shore and make a mental note where I’m at. This little detail is huge. The boat will drift off the spot and away from what may be the “sweet spot”. Learn how to use your electronics for more than just how deep it is.

    Long casts – I fish a lot of clear water so this has always been important to me. Even in stained water I try to make a long cast. I get a lot of bites in the first 10ft of my retrieve. If the bass knows you’re there she may not eat it.

    Line – I still use some monofilament and I change it often. Fishing with line that has been on your reel for 6 months is a bad idea. Besides being weak and brittle it will cast poor and make your day frustrating. Use the right size line for the right baits. If the fish are really aggressive I go up in size; 6lb to 8lb, 10lb to 12lb. etc…

    Organized tackle – When it’s a tournament the clock is ticking. I keep my tackle very organized so I can get to it quickly and get back in the water. I label and mark all my boxes with a sharpie marker. My boxes are clean, rust free, and when they crack I replace them. The more time you spend looking for stuff is less time to get bit.

    Sunglasses – Most fishermen I know wear a good pair of polarized sunglasses. If you’re new to Bass fishing spend the money and buy some really good polarized lens sunglasses. These glasses will help you see down into the water and notice structure when fishing shallow. When fishing topwater and shallow running lures you will often see the fish come out of cover and strike your lure. Fish movement and how they strike can tell you how they want the bait presented.

    I discuss these “little things” and others when I give a Private Lesson. Please visit my website for more info on Guide Service, On the Water Technique Instruction, and Private Lessons. Good fishing!

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