Whether you fish at the Elite Series level or just for weekend enjoyment, maximizing your success on the water depends on the ability to wring every last ounce of fish out of a given area. Even if you've found the ultimate school, no one wants to leave any fish behind.
When it comes to thinking "outside the box," Bassmaster Elite Series anglers are on the cutting edge. Always looking for a competitive advantage, many pros spend hours cutting, melting, splicing and combining popular baits in an effort to discover a new way to put more bass in the boat.
Elite Series pro Michael Iaconelli has won almost everything a professional angler could desire. From tournaments, to a Bassmaster Classic victory, and ultimately a Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, Iaconelli has known success through all aspects of the sport.
While trolling down the bank, Monroe will often pass his boat directly over a bed containing a spawning bass. If the fish remains on the bed or quickly returns to the bed after his boat passes, he deems the bass worth his attention.
Few feelings are more heartbreaking than bowing up on a 5-pound bass only to have it pull free halfway back to the boat. For the weekend angler, in a split second the opportunity for a great photo has vanished and for a tournament angler, it could mean thousands of dollars.
B.A.S.S. pro Jimmy Mason talks about how to catch schooling fish.
John Crews advises us on Trailer Hooks.
Over the past three decades, veteran Oklahoma pro Ken Cook has been a consistent competitor on the professional bass fishing scene. In a sport where longevity at the top level is rare, Cook has found a way to remain competitive long after claiming his first professional Bassmaster victory on Florida's Lake Toho in 1982.
Kota Kiriyama's blowout win in the 2008 Elite Series tournament on Lake Erie was no accident. His 93 pounds of smallmouth caught over four days, an average approaching 5 pounds per fish, were the result of a practice strategy that began several years earlier. While the average weekend angler may not have the time to approach every lake the same way, it provides a template for discovering subtle offshore structure.
Unless you're fortunate enough to live in a particularly temperate climate, when late fall rolls around on the calendar you're most likely either deer hunting or sitting by the fire awaiting the spring thaw. Only the most hardened of fanatics will brave the cold chill of December in pursuit of some late-season bass fishing.