Well, what do you know?
No, really, I mean really, what do you know about fishing?
I have always thought it's a good practice to never be 100 percent satisfied with your fishing wisdom — don't be a know-it-all. Want to know why? Well, I will tell you. I think it is because if you reach that point, where you think you know all there is to know, well, you will stop experimenting and, most importantly, stop learning.
Oh, sure, I am satisfied when I just get to go fishing. Just getting out there is a big deal, whether I catch a few or a bunch. But I hope I am never satisfied with what I perceive to be a know-it-all knowledge of bass fishing. (And to tell the truth, I don't think that can ever happen anyway. I have been chunkin' and winding a long time. There are still plenty of days where all I catch is a dose of humility and leave the water wondering, "What if I had tried this?" or, much better, "I am going to try this tomorrow!")
For me, that very frustration factor — the figuring them out, and/or the successfully putting the pieces of the fish-catching puzzle together, is what makes it fun.
Think about it, most of the time we are competing against a creature we can't even see. And even then, we are trying to get them to bite a chunk of wood or a piece of plastic, metal or rubber.
It's not easy, but fooling fish is fun when we pull it off. And all of us have to admit it doesn't happen on every trip, much less every cast. And all totaled, the fish win more times than we anglers do. And a lot of times, our success comes simply from an ability to weed out the bad fishing spots and locate the good ones.
We have to fish the most productive waters.
But then you look out at a large body of water and it can be overwhelming.
"Why, they could be anywhere!"
So, you simply have to devote your limited time to the most productive fishing locales.
Look for cover. We all know fish favor cover. And they will especially bury into it after a pressure change or when they are in a neutral to inactive mood. And when you find fish in the thickest of the thick, it's an ideal time for flippin'. So, with that in mind, here are some tips on this technique:
1. Cast your lure so that it enters the water with as little disturbance as possible, especially when the water you are fishing is shallow and clear. (Of course, there are also times I have let a flipped bait splash down especially hard, specifically to draw the attention of a bass, so don't be afraid to experiment.)
2. Flippin' will catch fish other anglers miss. It is definitely an "enticing" technique that draws strikes when other methods will not.
3. When flippin', you have to be a line watcher. Strikes may be subtle, and all you may notice is a movement of your line. Failure to pay close attention can mean missed fish.
4. Presentation is the key, but remember, when flippin' in tough conditions, you have to slow down and work to keep the bait in the strike zone longer to draw more bites.
5. Of course, in regard to tackle, you need a longer "flippin'" rod when fishing this technique. Something in the 6- to 8-foot range in a medium-heavy action. The longer rod provides better lure control, and flippin' is a pinpoint practice. You will also have more leverage for lifting bass out of heavy cover.
6. The most popular lures for flippin' are worms, jigs, plastic tubes, lizards and creature baits fished weedless, which give you access to the thickest of cover.
The flip cast is unique, too. Spend time practicing it, and when you are able to flip baits precisely where you want, you will certainly be catching more fish. And that may lead you to thinking you are a know-it-all, which, as I noted at the beginning, is not a good thing, but catching more fish certainly is!
For more words of wit and wisdom from one of our sport's greatest legends, check out www.billdanceoutdoors.com.