It can be a true test of character when a day of fishing turns into a day of watching as the angler you are sharing a boat with sets the hook time and again while you remain fishless. At some point, all bass anglers experience this frustration. How you deal with it can be the difference between a depressing day on the water and a successful trip for both anglers.
On the second morning of the 2008 Elite Series stop at Old Hickory Lake, California pro Jared Lintner, experienced a sound thrashing courtesy of his co-angler. When his boat-mate culled for the fifth time just before noon, Lintner was still searching for his first keeper bite. Faced with less than three hours to fish, Lintner made some crucial decisions that all anglers in a similar situation can learn from. "It seemed like everything my co-angler tried, worked out,"
Lintner remembers. "He would cast off the back of the boat and catch one, then turn around and flip to the bank and land a keeper." Admittedly, the success that Lintner was witnessing just a few feet behind him had a profound effect on his fishing. "I started fishing really fast trying to make sure that I covered everything. Instead of realizing that the fish wanted a slow presentation, I tried to force feed them. It kept getting worse because the more fish he caught behind me, the faster I fished."
Lintner is quick to point out that throughout the morning, his co-angler displayed good etiquette and only cast to areas that Lintner had already fished. The thought of returning to the dock with an empty livewell began to play mind games on the Elite Series pro, who says he ultimately reached a breaking point. "It got to me so bad that I almost broke a couple rods. I wasn't mad at the co-angler at all. I just needed to collect my thoughts.
Around noon, I pulled off my area, put all my tackle away, retied all my baits, and just sat there for a few moments." While the cooling-off period cut into valuable fishing time, it proved to be exactly what Lintner needed. With a renewed attitude, he tackled the final hours of the day as if it were an entirely new tournament. "I ran across the lake to a different spot and started catching bass.
When I ran back to the area where I had spent the morning, I just kept catching them. During the last two hours of the day, I caught 26 keepers in the exact same area where I didn't have a keeper bite all morning long," Lintner recounts.
After culling through the plethora of afternoon keepers, Lintner was able to weigh in a sizable limit and take home a Top 50 finish as well as some valuable lessons. "I learned a lot from that experience," he admits. "I've had guys catch fish behind me before, but nothing like that. It's really important to pay attention to why the other angler in the boat is getting the bites.
Fish are fish, and it's not like the bass is going to swim up to the boat and look at you and think, 'I'm not going to bite his line.'" Lintner offers this final piece of advice, "The angler who is getting all the bites has to be doing something to make those fish eat, and it's usually something really basic that is easily overlooked.
At Old Hickory, I probably could have caught those fish early if I had slowed down and let my bait just sit there. Instead, I became flustered and just kept banging my head against a wall." The next time you're scrambling for crumbs while the angler next to you is enjoying a feast, you can learn from this pro's experience and, perhaps, level out a lopsided day.
(Provided by Z3 Media)