I’m up on a giant, Northern natural lake that’s full of really big smallmouth bass getting ready for a tournament. What I want to talk about isn’t just smallmouth, though. I want to make sure you understand that there are other bass swimming around in every smallmouth venue. They’re called largemouth.
This week’s message is to stay versatile when you’re targeting brown bass. Everyone knows that some of the lakes up here are full of smallmouth and that going after them is usually the way to win. It’s been written and talked about so much that it’s almost an axiom or a rule of some sort. Nobody thinks about anything else. (Believe me when I say this. I know what I’m talking about. I live in this neighborhood.)
But let me tell you the other side of the story. Smallies can be fickle and they can change their feeding habits and physical location in a New York minute, and for reasons that we humans don’t understand — can’t understand. And, if you don’t know why they moved, it’s pretty hard to find out where they went.
That’s why I’m also developing a pattern for late season largemouth. They may not be as numerous or as big as the smallmouth in some of these waters but they’re much more predictable. If I catch them one day at a particular depth, in a particular place, on a particular lure, it’s likely they’ll be there the next day.
OK, that’s not always true but it’s true enough that I can make plans and have a reasonable chance of executing those plans. With smallies, it’s a totally different situation. And that’s where a lot of guys make their mistake. They only develop smallmouth patterns.
On lakes with both green bass and brown bass, you should try to develop something for both. I can’t tell you how important this is to your long-term success. It’s really the only way you can say you’re prepared when the first day’s launch rolls around.
More than once — especially in the fall — I’ve prefished a tournament, had big smallmouth located and then went out the next day only to find that they had moved, moved with no forwarding address. That’s why I learned early on to find a few green bass as a backup.
Sometimes I’ve had to rely on them exclusively and sometimes they just gave me an extra fish or two for the weigh-in. Either way, I was glad I had them. They’ve made a big difference in my career.
I’ve got to go. I need to get back and check with my motel to see if my long underwear and my maps arrived. Things have been so crazy the last couple of weeks that I drove off without them, just flat left them at home. Thank goodness Becky was able to find everything and have it shipped to me. She looks after me, you know.