In my last column we talked about how to junk fish properly. A part of that is keeping things simple. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I think the more you know about fishing and fish, the less success you have.
We anglers have a tendency to make things too complicated sometimes. If we stick to the basics we’ll do just fine. We don’t need 14 rods on the deck of our boat.
There’s a reason that coaches still teach — and practice relentlessly — the bounce pass in basketball. It moves the ball around, and it’s really tough to defend. It works. It’s not fancy and it rarely makes the highlight film. But when the game is over it’ll account for a lot of points, and the team that scores the most points wins the game.
It’s the same with a layup. Every player on the court will get a chance to make a layup somewhere along the line. If a player practices it, and gets good at it, he’ll score two points for his team when he gets the chance.
It’s the same thing with bass fishing. Basic things still work and they still account for fish in the boat regardless of whether you’re fishing a tournament or just out messing around for the day. I define basic things as those that have been tested successfully for years and years in different waters everywhere around the country. Here are my picks…
The square bill crankbait: This bad boy will catch enough of them to earn a spot of the deck of your boat. I’d suggest something that runs in the 7 to 8 foot range. Throw it anywhere you think it’ll work and in whatever color you think looks the best. (You may as well pick the color. The bass isn’t going to tell you what he or she likes.)
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the square bill is somehow new just because it’s gotten a lot of publicity recently. It’s been around for a long time.
The jig: Learn to fish a jig in 4 inches of water, and in 40 feet of water. Cast it, swim it, pitch it, flip it, crawl it, hop it, kiss it and after that do anything else your little heart desires with it. It’ll treat you right.
Mark your calendar and then fish for the next 365 days. Put a dot on every single day you go fishing and catch a bass with a jig. You’ll never launch your boat without one out and ready to go after that.
The shaky head: I've had the privilege of fishing with, and against, the man who actually invented the shaky head. It caught bass 20 years ago, and it’s still catching them today. The guy I’m talking about still uses the same design and setup he always did, and he’s still the guy to beat in most local tournaments around here.
I know what I just said about the invention of the shaky head is a bold statement. I don’t care. It’s true. It’s a fact. I saw it in operation years and years ago, and I saw it in operation last week.
Keep things simple, guys. You don’t need every fancy bait out there, and you don’t need to know how to fish with 10 or 12 different setups. Bass are fish. They don’t think and they don’t try to outsmart us. Go with what works.