Bass fishing’s better than ever

About the author

Chris Lane

Chris Lane

Chris Lane is a four-time winner on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion.

I’ll tell you what — the bass fishing around the country is better than ever. I just read a piece on this site about a couple of high school kids up in New Hampshire catching seven bass that weighed a little over 21 pounds. And down here in Alabama it’ll take more than that to bring home the bacon.

In Florida it’s even better. It took 27 pounds to win the (high school) Bobby Lane Cup on Kissimmee.

That’s proof that fishing is better than ever and it’s also the proof that our up-and-coming anglers are better than ever.

In my opinion, the better fishing is a combination of factors. First, I think we understand fish management better than we once did. We can build habitat that encourages reproduction and growth. At the same time we have the ability to nurture forage of the right kind, and in the right numbers.

Pollution is down, too. That makes a big difference. The bass are able to live in clean water. That allows them to take advantage of the things we’re doing for them. It lets them live longer, too.

The fact that the anglers are better isn’t all that much different, at least as far as the reasons for it are concerned. We know more now. We can make better decisions. At the same time, our equipment, especially our electronics, is superior to what we had available just a few short years ago.

What really surprises me, though, is how good the kids are. They understand the fish and they understand equipment. They’re way ahead of where most of us were at their ages. It’s almost frightening to think about what they’ll be able to do when they mature and get some experience under their belts.

Plus, this is a sport that’s growing by leaps and bounds. We’re getting back on our feet after the Great Recession and it shows. The tournaments are getting solid sponsors and so are the anglers. The future looks good as far as I’m concerned.  

While we’re on this subject of how great bass fishing is these days, I want to mention Guntersville and Florida. Guntersville speaks for itself. The giants that are being caught here, and the numbers are setting a standard for the rest of the country.

Florida is producing giants and numbers, as well. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. And the thing about it is that you can follow the weather this winter if you want to thaw out and catch bass at the same time.

If the weather’s warm, fish the Harris Chain. If it’s about average, you can stop at the Kissimmee Chain in the middle part of the state. And, if it’s cold, just keep driving south until you hit Okeechobee.

I’m mentioning this because now is the time to get the biggest bass of your life. The fish spawn early here at Guntersville and even earlier in Florida. Right now a lot of them are in the prespawn phase. That can mean the fish of a lifetime. Don’t let the winter get past you if you can help it.

I just wish I hadn’t learned it the hard way. I hope someone out there can learn a little something from my mistakes and from my successes in Oklahoma. If so, it’ll make your winter bassing one heck of a lot more productive.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.chrislanefishing.com.

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