More thoughts on Rule 1

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I’m not suffering from a brain concussion, regardless of what Kumar would have you believe. I do appreciate what he said about the column, though. B.A.S.S. has given me a wonderful opportunity to communicate with our fans. I take it seriously.

I fished today [Friday] on a local lake here in Louisiana. I was filming a show. What I saw illustrates the truth of Rule 1 perfectly. I was flipping and pitching into some pads. My first choice of baits was a Strike King Hack Attack Jig with a black blue flake Rodent for my trailer. That combination worked great, but I still wanted to try something different.

My second choice was to Texas rig a black blue flake Strike King Rage Bug. When I looked around in my boat I realized I didn’t have any. My best substitute was black neon. It’s got some red in it which makes it look a little different, but it’s dark so that made it pretty close. The color and bait change didn’t make any difference to the bass.

Right near us was another boat with a couple of guys in it. They looked to me like they had bass fishing skills. They were catching them pretty good. I looked carefully at what they were doing. They were pitching and flipping another brand of plastic — a lizard in pumpkin seed with a bright chartreuse tail. And, they were using either monofilament or fluorocarbon line. I was using braid.

There couldn’t be two more different types of plastic. One looks nothing like the other. The deal wasn’t about our lures. It was about where we were fishing. The fish were there and we were fishing on the bottom. We were following Rule 1.

Let’s not forget something. Largemouth bass don’t “think.” We’re not looking for a unicorn or chasing Sasquatch. They don’t hide behind rocks because they’re afraid we’ll get them and they don’t peek around corners to make sure we aren’t around. They’re simple prehistoric creatures. They eat, rest and have sex once a year.

It would be nice if I could say that I figured all this out on my own. I didn’t. Some of it was from experience on the water but most of it came from watching other pros and competing against them. I didn’t always have what they had but I was able to figure the bass out and compete with them.

If Rule 1 didn’t apply, every pro at the top of every tournament would have caught them on the same exact bait — model, size, color, company. Obviously, that doesn’t happen. In fact, just the opposite is true. We all catch them differently. The only thing we have in common is that we found them.

The single most useful thing I can say to anyone who wants to consistently catch bass is what I said last week. Learn how to find them.

OK, that’s enough about Rule 1. Why don’t some of you post some questions about things you want to know more about? I’ll do my best to answer them in future columns.