Suck it up!

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James Overstreet

With 100 points available to the winner this week, Monroe has a thin path to the Classic: Win and he’s in. That’s the only way he can get to 480 points. A place or two below first might get him there, based on a multitude of scenarios breaking his way.

Most of us want to catch bigger bass. Maybe we’re not looking for a true giant like I’ve written about in the past, but we do want something a little bigger than what we’re catching right now.

Almost everyone who’s reading this has the tackle and lures they need to upgrade the average size of their catch. You really don’t need anything special. Get that out of your head. What you do need is the mental toughness to cut down on the number of bites you’re getting so you can concentrate on the better ones.

For a lot of anglers, it’s nearly impossible to leave a spot where they’re catching bass or go several hours without a bite. That includes professionals as well as recreational anglers and club competitors. But, if you’re going to catch bigger fish, you have to suck it up and accept reality.

Let’s look at a couple of common scenarios we’re all faced with:

You’re fishing a bunch of grass, pads or laydowns. The bass are all over your 5-inch plastic stickbait and your 1/8-ounce shaky head. The problem is that out of the 15 or 20 bass you’ve caught, not a one of them weighs over 2 pounds. Stop for a minute, smile and appreciate the fact that you’ve had your fun. Then do something different.

My advice: Move.

If you’ve caught that many fish and they’re all short, you can rest assured that the 3-, 4- and 5-pounders aren’t there. It makes no sense to continue fishing that water or to move to a similar place in another part of the lake. Accept the fact that you’ve found the small ones and move along. When you do that, though, understand that you may not get another bite the rest of the day.

But, let’s say that you’ve caught that many fish and one or two of them weighs 3 pounds or better. That tells you that the bigger fish you’re looking for are there. They just aren’t biting what you’re throwing.

My advice: Stay put and upsize your lure.

There’s no reason to leave. You know the better fish are there. You just need to make them bite. The easiest way to do that is to switch to a bigger lure, and then go back over the same water with it. My choice of offerings would be a big jig, a sizeable jerkbait, a huge spinnerbait or maybe even a hefty topwater plug like a Whopper Plopper.

My thinking should come as no surprise. I’ve said over and over again in my columns that if you want bigger bass, throw bigger lures.

Fact: There are very few professional level largemouth tournaments that are won on small baits. It just doesn’t happen. A drop shop is a dynamite lure for smallmouth and many tournaments have been won with one. But, I challenge you to tell me about a major largemouth tournament that was won with a small, finesse presentation like a drop shot. I’m not talking about a few bass to round out your sack. That happens all the time. I’m talking about the winning fish.

I know that some of you are thinking that you or your buddy once caught a 7-pounder on a 4-inch trick worm, and that proves that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t doubt that it happened. I do doubt that you can do it on a regular basis.