By Chris Futch -
I wash my truck every weekend. I use the same hose, the same scrub brush, the same soap, and for the most part, the same routine. Why the same thing every time? Because it works. Over time, I’ve figured out what works well for me when it comes to washing my truck and I’ve developed a pattern. The same can be said for my bass fishing.
I grew up fishing a very large river, The St Johns in Florida. As a young boy, I honestly thought that no other body of water held bass. Of course that is not true, but at times on a slow day, while fishing unfamiliar bodies of water, my mind starts to wander as I pitch my lure around casting on auto-pilot. The thought floats through my mind ..”are there any Bass in here”.. It can be quite discouraging.
Every time on the water I can be fairly predictable. I use the same rods with the same reels, the same line and the same lures. It worked on the St Johns River. Unfortunately I grew up and had to move away from my beloved river.
For Years, I just didn’t even Bass Fish. I couldn’t see the point. As far as I was concerned, I would have just as much luck in a mud puddle as the bodies of water I was seeing. Then a neighbor in Portland invited me to go Bass Fishing with him. He told me of a spot on the river where the Bass were so concentrated that you could quickly catch your fill. I was definitely excited, and you guessed it, I grabbed my same ole rod and reel, with the same line and the same lures.
We ended up at the end of a dead end road under a train trussel on the Pudding River in Canby, Oregon. The countryside is just beautiful. This didn’t resemble any river that I was accustomed to. It was less than 20 foot wide and maybe 8-10 footdeep in the center. I walked up and down those banks for a good hour pitching and tossing with absolutely no luck. On the other hand, my buddy sat next to the bank on a bucket with a Zebco 33 and a tub of red wigglers and slayed ‘em. He must have caught 20 largemouth in the 1-3 lb. range in the matter of an hour. He stayed in the same spot, bottom fishing right smack in the center of this deep hole. Finally I gave in and grabbed a split shot and a worm. It took a couple minutes to catch a two pounder and I was ready to go.
At that point I realized, there are Bass in other places, I just didn’t know how to catch them. It was my time for me to break my mold.
As humans foremost, and anglers second, we have a tendency to develop habits and patterns in everything that we do. Just like washing my truck, I had habits. But what happens when there is some tar or something that my regular soap just does not wash away? I do not just give up. I ask around if I have to, or experiment until I find something that works. So why is it that we can be so stubborn as Bass anglers?
Many times when trying a new product or technique, I find myself having to fight the urge to rush through it so I can get back to my familiar routines. I have to discipline myself and draw on every bit of patience I can muster. It’s at these times, on an unfamiliar body of water, that I make my breakthrough. I come out of my slump because I’ve broken the mold.
One thing is for sure, as Bass anglers we are some of the most proud, stubborn sportsmen in the outdoor world. Trying to share knowledge with a seasoned Bass Angler, in most cases, just becomes a battle of who is the Best Bass Fisherman. Just like me, arrogantly watching my Buddy sit on that bucket and lazily catch bass one after the other while I wore blisters on my hands casting and retrieving. I was determined to show him up. It makes me wonder how much more luck was to be had on my beloved St Johns had I been willing to try new tactics.
So the next time you’re on an unfamiliar body of water and having no luck, shake it up a bit. Get frisky and crazy with it and try new radical approaches to finding fish. Mimic what you see others doing. Figure out the best way to get your truck clean. Break out of the mold!
Chris Futch is the operator of the Averagengerl.net Website and Forum.