Learning to fish

This week we'll talk about three things you can do that'll help you catch more bass. For the time being we're going to ignore specific techniques and detailed instructions on how to fish a particular lure. Instead, we'll concentrate on an educational plan.

Some of this may sound basic. I'm sure you've heard it before. Nevertheless, now is the time to get better. You can only do that by starting at the beginning and working toward a specific goal — learning to fish.

First, read and study everything you can. Obviously, your material should include Bassmaster, BASS Times and Bassmaster.com. To be fair, there are other sources. Be careful, however. Make sure the stuff you read is credible and written honestly. This is especially true with stuff on the Internet. It's easy for someone to pretend to be someone they're not.

Secondly, watch everything you can find on TV and every video posted on the Internet. There's a wealth of information available out there. I suggest you record the shows and then watch them at your leisure — over and over until you know and understand the details.

Pay particular attention to any coverage of the Elite Series, the postseason and the Bassmaster Classic, regardless of how it they might be. This is where you'll see the best anglers fishing at their best against high-level competition. There are no secrets at this level. Everything is recorded.

Third, fish with the best anglers you can find. I mean this. Anytime you get the chance to fish with someone who's better than you, jump on it. Better might mean better overall, or it might mean better at a particular technique. Either way, take the opportunity to learn.

My own experience with a few of the guys on the tour serves as an excellent example of what I'm talking about. I'm not — wasn't — a very good bed fisherman. I just didn't get it. But, after rooming and hanging out with a couple of the guys who are good, I started to see the light.

Now, I'm not saying I'm a great bed fisherman. That wouldn't be true. I am saying, however, I'm a heck of a lot better than I was. That counts for something, especially when I get into a situation where I have to bed fish to be competitive.

BASS has a program that'll do the same thing for you. It's called the Marshal Program. Basically, you get to ride with an Elite Series angler two or three days during one of our Elite tournaments. It's a great chance to watch us fish and ask questions. There's no better learning opportunity on the planet.

In a future blog — next Friday, unless something extraordinary happens at Smith Mountain — we'll take a close look at practice. It's often said that practice makes perfect. Smarter guys will tell you that perfect practice makes perfect. I'll do my best to help you make it perfect.