Whenever I write one of these columns I try to keep in mind that not everyone is a serious tournament angler. I'd guess that readers just want to catch more bass, and bigger bass.
With that in mind I'm going to go over a few things that I do — and that you often read about — that really don't apply to recreational or weekend tournament anglers.
This is something that you hear tournament anglers talk about all the time. It's an important topic if you fish multiday tournaments. If you're a recreational angler, however, or if most of your tournaments are club events on a Saturday or Sunday, forget about it. You don't need to manage anything. Catch what you can, when you can.
Say you're catching 3-pound bass from a giant weedbed and you're on a weeklong fishing trip. Why save any of those bass for tomorrow? That doesn't make sense. Catch 'em!
I change the line on my reels every night during competition. I lost a big fish once because my line broke. It cost me plenty. I've never forgotten it.
In the Elite Series you can't afford to lose a fish. Regardless of how tired I am or how much it costs me I can't take a chance that there's a nick somewhere up my line that'll break when I'm fighting the winning bass.
But for most anglers that's a waste of time and money. Modern lines are good and they're strong. Use them until there isn't enough on your spool to fish properly and then spool up with fresh.
Line with a heavy test weight
I frequently use 25-pound-test line when 20 would be more than enough. In fact, 20-pound-test would handle better and give me better bait action. But I can't afford to lose a fish. I can't take chances. I go heavy.
A recreational angler doesn't need to go there. Throw your lures with lighter line. You'll have more fun — less hassle — and probably catch more fish. So what if you lose one every now and then? It's not the end of the world.
What you want to target
If you're fishing somewhere where there's smallmouth, largemouth and spots think about what you want to catch and what they'll do for you. Are you out for fun, or is weight what it's all about for you?
Example: If you're on the St. Lawrence River fishing a one day tournament or you want to catch bigger bass, you probably want to target smallmouth. There are more big smallies than big largemouth so they're the better bet.
On the other hand, if you just want to catch a lot of fish or you're fishing a multi-day tournament you might want to go with largemouth. They're not as big but there are a lot of them and their bite is usually steady.
Changing your trolling motor prop
I put on a new prop on my trolling motor prop every couple of days. I want the edges sharp as a razorblade and as quiet as possible. One or two extra bass during a tournament is worth the expense and trouble to me.
For the average angler, though, what I do is a waste of money. If your prop is a little rough, hit it with some sandpaper or a Dremel and you'll be good to go. Change it when it breaks or when it's too bad to touch up.
Next time we'll go over some more things.