Back to basics

I was in Rhode Island last week doing seminars and promoting Ranger Boats. I have to say it really refreshed my attitude about bass fishing. The crowds were pretty good, and the anglers were really enthused about bass fishing.

Woo Daves, the 2000 Bassmaster Classic champion, was there, too. He offered some interesting comments about fishing that I'd like to share with you. They're worth thinking about. First, we need to take a step back and look at the real world. Most bass anglers are doing it for fun. At most they're fishing local club tournaments. We don't ever want to forget that. Daves pointed out in his seminars that the surest way to catch a bass is with a simple Texas rigged, straight-tail plastic worm.

He's right. Too often we (professionals) convey the idea that you have to have a lot of fancy — and expensive — tackle to catch bass. Even worse, we sometimes leave the impression that without all the latest professional techniques and tricks, a trip is doomed. Why bother to go at all? Obviously, that's not true. Fishing is supposed to be fun, a day on the water with friends and family having a good time. Sure, it's about catching fish, but it's not about doing it the hard way. Most anglers need to know how to make their Texas rigged worm hang straight so it doesn't twist. They need to know how to tie a knot correctly and how to choose fishing line wisely. Without those basic skills, 15 of the newest and best baits will be of little or no consequence. They certainly won't help anyone catch a bass.

Most important of all, however, anglers need to know how to find the fish. They need to understand seasonal patterns and the factors that make bass move as the weather changes. The best lures in the world, along with every fancy trick known to man, won't catch a bass if he isn't there. Too often we professionals ignore that fact. It's obvious to us so we don't bother to talk about it. That needs to change. All of us need to get back to basics — find them, catch them, laugh and then turn them lose so another angler can do the same. I guess what I'm trying to say is let's not get too carried away with ourselves. Sure, it's great to be a pro and treat this as a business. No one can deny the thrill of fishing for big bass on big water while chasing a check. Neither can anyone deny that high-end tackle and equipment are nice things to have, indispensable at my level. But that's not the case for most anglers. It's possible to have a good time, and still catch bass, without busting the family budget at the local tackle store or knowing every trick in the book. We need to keep that in mind.

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