When you think of team sports, bass fishing isn't at the top of the list. It isn't on the list at all. Typically perceived as a solo effort, bass fishing pits an individual against the fish.
Whether you are fishing for thousands of dollars or just out on the lake for a relaxing day, teaming up with another angler who is fishing in a different boat, be it a tournament competitor or weekend fishing acquaintance, is a proven method to increase your success on the water.
As a three year veteran on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Kurt Dove has reaped the benefits of teaming up with other Elite Series anglers to crack the puzzle on tournament waters across the country. "One of the great things about working with someone else is that you can really learn other tactics that are working on a particular body of water," says Dove.
Dove points to a recent Elite Series tournament on Kentucky Lake as an example. "You might be out there, deep cranking, and your buddy finds a frog bite up in the pepper grass, or something like that. Sure, the crankbait bite might be the best option but if you need something as a backup plan, now you have a secondary pattern." When selecting another angler to team up with, Dove believes it is important to pick a partner with whom you are compatible, but one with a different fishing style. "If I'm most comfortable fishing shallow water, then I probably want to work with someone who prefers to fish deep," explains Dove.
"That way, we're covering both ends of the spectrum and can work together to find out which techniques are working on a particular body of water. That's the great thing about working with somebody, especially if they have a little different style than you do." Fishing style is just one of the factors Dove considers when selecting a partner.
For both anglers to benefit, the partnership must be built on mutual respect, understanding, and above all, trust. "Trust and respect are really everything. If you don't have 100 percent trust, you have nothing," Dove declares. The Virginia pro adds that trust must be developed, earned and tested over time. "I think you gain that trust slowly; it's not just something that you get right off the bat," allows Dove. "When you have success on something that your partner has shared, you want to give back to them so they will have success. That's how mutual trust grows."
While teaming up with another angler to find fish can pay huge dividends, it also has the potential to foil a developing game plan. "One of the biggest negatives about working with someone else is that they just might be catching fish on something that you don't really like doing or are not very good at," says Dove. "You end up 'chasing your tail' — trying to fish something that's not your strength — rather than finding a pattern that suits you and that you can exploit."
Dove points out that the silver lining to this scenario is that although you may initially struggle with unfamiliar techniques, valuable knowledge and skills can be learned by fishing outside your comfort zone. As a final tip for bass anglers looking to team up to find more fish, Dove offers these words of advice, "Right off the bat, whatever you tell your partner has to be exactly what is going one with the particular situation that you found so that they can have success.
Your teammate having success off your information is imperative to getting information back so that you can be successful someday by using information they provide you."
(Provided by Z3 Media)