Elite Series pro Bernie Schultz, like most anglers, doesn't limit his efforts to just one species. While he's passionate about fishing for bass, he's just plain nuts about fishing the saltwater flats around his Florida home. "Bass fishing used to be my real passion, but then it became my job," he reveals. "I still love bass fishing, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but nowadays shallow, light-line saltwater fishing is my absolute passion.
I really think that it allows me to have the best of both worlds and continually learn, even when I'm not fishing for bass." The opportunity to continually learn is — besides the sheer joy Schultz receives — the underlying point of fishing for species other than bass. "As I was growing up in Florida, my granddad exposed me to fishing for other species of fish — not just bass," he says.
"This gave me a great platform to use toward learning more about how all fish react to different types of lures, and how they respond under different weather conditions." Schultz adds that at the end of the day fish are, simply put, just fish. They all share some common reactions to similar presentations, and the training one receives from chasing fish other than bass can most often be parlayed into powerful bass fishing skills. "You'd be surprised how saltwater fish will respond to lures the same way a bass will," Schultz points out.
"I really was able to cut my teeth sight fishing for saltwater species, which absolutely overlapped into sight fishing for bass. They work both ways because it trains your eyes to look for fish. I see movement and color variations that most guys will miss because of this." Schultz is quick to point out that saltwater fishing allows for the discovery of subtle techniques that would otherwise go unnoticed. "One of the most important things I've learned from saltwater fishing is how to present a lure to a cruising fish," he says.
"When fishing for redfish and tarpon, the technique is really all about how you present the lure and allow the fish to discover it. "It's a combination of a quiet presentation, the angle of your cast, and what you do with the bait right after the fish intercepts the lure. When done right, it will determine whether you get the bite or not. When it works, it's sweet!" There are many overlaps in terms of bait and tackle in the freshwater realm, and there are a few, as Schultz points out, in the saltwater realm as well; however, he's not too keen on trying to mix and match between freshwater and saltwater. For him, the cues gamefish offer transcend the water type and are far more important.
"In many cases the lures that work well for bass don't work well for saltwater fish," he explains. "The real key isn't in trying to find baits that work for both species though. The magic is in being able to recognize and understand how the fish, which are predators, relate to bait movement and their surrounding conditions." Schultz encourages all anglers to take a universal approach to all angling, not just bass fishing.
"Be open-minded and realize that gamefish are predators, and many of them respond in the same ways as a bass does," he says. "Yeah, it may take different techniques to be successful in one versus the other, but there are tremendous overlaps in the similarities between all species of gamefish."
(Provided by Z3 Media)