I’m really stoked this week for a couple of reasons. The first is Rick Clunn’s victory. He was my hero when I was about 12-years-old, and he’s still my hero. I have no hesitation in telling you that he’s the competitive tournament angler I most admire. I was really rooting for him. His win is sweet.
The other reason has to do with Florida. Let’s be honest. Florida has not been kind to me over the years. This time, though, I did better. I had a 27th place finish. That may not sound all that great but given my past record I’ll take it with a smile on my face. At least I’m not starting off deep in the hole this year.
Here’s how I did it:
I didn’t want to fish with the crowd in Lake George. Instead, I went to another area where the water was really dirty. It wasn’t muddy, just dirty. The locals call it black water. At best you can see 2 inches down into it.
During practice I tried to find areas that looked like places bass would be spawning. Mostly that means flats with an irregularity on them, grass or wood in most cases. I fished a propbait with the hooks bent in. The idea was to get blowups — mostly from the males — that would tell me where a female might be on or around her bed.
Propbaits are perfect for that. If the wind was down, I bent the blades back so that they don’t make much of a ruckus when I twitched my lure along. If there was wind and waves, I pushed the blades forward so that I would get a little more splash and noise.
Once I had the blowups marked with a waypoint I fished the area with a Texas rigged plastic. I worked the bait very slowly. And, even though I couldn’t see a thing, I imagined that there was a bed under my lure. Sometimes I worked a cast for 2 minutes, and I frequently made several casts into the same area.
I can say that I didn’t see any of the bass I caught on the St. Johns River. It was bed fishing blind all the way. It’s a technique that requires patience and confidence but for a guy like me who isn’t a very good bed fisherman, and who doesn’t like to bed fish, it a great alternative.
My propbait choice was a Rapala X-Rap Prop. There are several good ones around but that’s my choice. The big thing, regardless of which bait you choose, is that it lays flat on the surface. That’s critical if you want to get the most out of your lure. Another thing is to always use monofilament line with a propbait. Monofilament floats. That’ll help keep your bait flat.
My plastic choice was a stickbait made by Berkley called a Havoc Flat Dawg.
It was Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in Magnum Force who said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” That applies to lots of things.