The right approach

About the author

Brent Chapman

Brent Chapman

Brent Chapman is the 2012 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, and 4-time winner in B.A.S.S. tournaments. 

Some people call it finding “the spot within the spot,” or the right presentation, I like to call it the right approach. What I am talking about is understanding the best way to fish a location to catch more and bigger bass. Everything from what direction to pull the boat into the area to how long of a cast to make, the smallest change in approach can improve your day.

Before you can start to figure out the right approach, you’ll have to find some fish. Once you've done that, you have to start breaking down the details for getting the most bites. This is the difficult and painstaking part, but it’s the part the separates the guys getting checks in tournaments from the guys that aren’t.

Have you ever wondered why you’ve rolled through a spot and gotten no bites, then watched another angler come in right behind you knock their socks off? Most likely it’s because they changed the approach. Something as simple as a bigger weight to get the bait to fall faster through the grass or casting at a different angle with a crankbait.

I can look back at several tournaments this season and break down why each of the spots produced as well as they did ... or didn't. For instance, at Lake Oneida I was able to find the right presentation for the fish near the weed lines. If I positioned the bait just outside of the grass from a long distance, I would get bit. Too short of a cast or too far outside the grass line would not result in a bite.

An example of when I made the wrong approach came at the All-Star event. I was fishing a shallow water crankbait, as was Aaron Martens. I was fishing it with my boat off the bank a little, while he was fishing it with his boat almost sitting on the rocks. Something as small as boat position and angle of retrieve made all the difference.

Find the fish, then figure out the best approach to catching them. Approach it wrong and you can get a few bites, approach it right and you’ll get a lot of bites.

Returning from the West

I wanted to touch on this past weekend. I headed out West, to Orange County, Calif., to work the Angler's Marine Bass-A-Thon. It's intense out west. Guys were lining up at 5:00 a.m. to get the hottest swimbait out right now. Rumor had it they sold out in 30 minutes.

The anglers out West are passionate about fishing, just like Midwestern and Southern anglers, but with a few differences. The like bigger baits, the talk faster and they dress a little different. Where we opt for camouflage clothing and shaped brims on our caps, they opt for brighter colors, tattoos and flatten the brims on their caps —the flatter the better.

I made some new friends out West, had a great time and look forward to getting invited back.

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