You don’t hear much about precise lure placement these days, but in my opinion it’s as important as anything else in bass fishing. If you miss your target, you miss your bass. When that happens your lure choice doesn’t matter, and neither does your fancy rod and reel.
The reality of modern bass fishing is pressure. Any lake worth fishing is covered over with bass boats on the weekend. It’ll have a fair number out there during the week, too. The easy bass are gone. If you expect to catch heavy sacks, you’d better be able to put your lure right on target and be able to get it back into places where the other guys can’t.
Casting to stumps, rocks or any other type of cover or structure isn’t about throwing in its general direction. It’s about being precise. Hit it with your crankbait and you’ll get a bite. Miss it by a couple of feet and all you’ll get is exercise.
Accurate skipping is just as important. I can’t tell you the number of times in my short career that I’ve seen when a jig skipped under a dock produced nothing. But if you skipped that same jig to a support post — right alongside of it in that tiny patch of shade — you’d catch a nice keeper.
Flipping and pitching accuracy is right in there with casting and skipping. Heavy grass and pad beds are legendary producers of quality bass, but only when you drop your bait into the hole or right against the stem. Foul your bait in a mess of goop, or wrap your line around a bush, and you’ve wasted an opportunity. And maybe ruined the whole area.
Precise lure placement doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a learned skill, and that learning only happens with practice. Whenever I’m out fun fishing, or working with a new lure or technique, I always take a little time to practice hitting my target. Sometimes I cast, sometimes I flip and sometimes I pitch.
I don’t do anything technical or sophisticated. All I do is pick a real or an imaginary target and then try to hit it. That’s not always the most fun thing to do, but it helps me when I’m fishing a tournament or when I’m really trying to catch a big bass.
Skipping accurately can be a little more difficult. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do it quickly and accurately. It’s time well spent, though. Skipping is one of the best ways to get a lure into fresh, unfished water. I spend as much time practicing skipping as I do with everything else.
Most of my skipping in real fishing situations is with a jig. I skip it with a baitcaster. I know that’s not the easiest thing to do but it’s not as hard as it’s sometimes made out to be, either. There’s plenty of how-to videos on the Internet that’ll give you the basics so I won’t get into that here.
If you can’t skip a baitcaster — or think you can’t — go with a spinning outfit. Modern spinning tackle is really good. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s only for smaller fish. It isn’t.
Accurate lure placement is critical if you expect to upgrade your fishing skills. Take the time to learn how to do it.