I wish I could tell you she was planned out in detail or that I was looking for a big bass on a big bass spot, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I found her when I was looking around in practice trying to put something together.
My practice was tough. I wasn’t getting very many bites or developing much of a pattern, so I tried to cover a lot of water. I found two stumps sitting side by side on an otherwise barren and ordinary clay bank. The water was only about a foot deep. I threw a buzzbait over them to see what would happen.
When I got it back to the boat — I was really cranking it along — the water erupted into a huge boil. I saw a big bass swirling on my bait. At the time I thought she weighed about 6 pounds. I even told several of the guys about her.
On tournament day, I still hadn’t put much of anything together. Basically, I was out there junk fishing. On my third or fourth stop, I threw that same buzzbait over the top of those same stumps.
I thought she acted like she wanted it in practice, and I didn’t think the weather had changed enough for her to move. Besides, the conditions were perfect for a buzzbait bite — post-frontal with a nice chop on the water, just enough to break up the profile of my bait. It was a textbook presentation.
She grabbed it. I got her to the boat without much trouble and spent the rest of the day running from spot to spot trying to duplicate my bite. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a one fish on one spot deal.
My bait was an Assassinator Buzzbait (Black & Blue Pro) thrown on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line. My rod was a 7 foot, medium-heavy action Daiwa Steez. My reel was a medium speed Daiwa Steez (6.3:1 gear ratio).
If there’s a lesson here, it’s that you should always return to a spot where you got a good bite. That may sound obvious, but a lot of anglers don’t do it. They think they can’t duplicate their previous success or that the bass has moved or they forget about it or they think something else that costs them a fish.
There’s no doubt in my mind that was the same fish I saw in practice. The location tells me that. It was a barren, clay bank with only those two stumps on it. There’s no way there were two big fish on that spot, and I’ll never believe my practice fish left and another one moved in. It was the same one.
If you’re struggling to put something together, keep fishing and cover water. You never know what you might find.