Keep learning

About the author

Brent Chapman

Brent Chapman

Brent Chapman is the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

One of the great things about bass fishing is that you never stop learning. The moment you think you have it all figured out someone else is going to pass you by. While the nature of a bass might not change a lot, the game of fishing for them changes almost on a daily basis.

Continuing to learn isn’t just important to tournament anglers, it important for every angler. Every time you go on the water you should try to learn something. It can be anything from a new technique, to a new spot on your favorite fishery. Take the time to push your skills to a new level. Even on the worst fishing days you can learn a lot. In fact, I've learned the most on some of the worst fishing days of my life.

Here’s a simple thing you can do to help your learning curve: When you catch a fish, think of the things that led to you catching that fish — location, lure presentation, angle of retrieve, retrieve speed or cadence, water temperature or proximity to water depth changes (spawning flats, creek channels or points). Every time you catch a fish make a mental note on some of these things and see if you can start to develop a pattern.

When you finally leave the water for the day think back to the fish you caught and see how many of the fish catches have the same characteristics. I think you’ll be surprised and find patterns you may have missed before.

Another thing every angler should do is try new techniques. Don’t spend every fishing trip learning a new technique, but don’t be afraid to tie something on you’ve never tried before. A great time to try something new is when you are on a good bite. If you are catching a bunch of fish on a particular spot with a jig, but you’ve never Carolina rigged before, that’s a great time to tie on a Carolina rig and get some confidence in it — or a shaky head, vibrating jig or another technique you’ve wanted to learn.

I don’t care who you are — from the best angler in the world down to a kid just starting out — there is always something to learn about catching bass. That’s the great thing about fishing! Just when you think you have it all figured out, you realize you don’t. Continue to learn and you’ll be a better angler and catch more fish in the long run.

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