It’s been a busy two weeks. First I was in Taiwan, then we hosted our Annual Ike Foundation Scholarship Dinner, then I fished the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Martin presented by Econo Lodge and now I’m in England doing some filming for my new TV show. This time I’m going after pike, barbel and European yellow perch.
My work schedule might be a little hectic at times but it’s good for my primary career as a professional bass angler fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series. That’s because it’s all fishing. And that’s why I want to touch a little more on something I mentioned last time — multi-species fishing.
Sometimes we get stuck with a narrow mind when it comes to bass and bass fishing. We convince ourselves that black bass are something special, that they live different and act different from other fish. They don’t.
If you can catch one species, it’s not all that hard to switch to another one. The basics of fishing are all the same. It’s a hook on something they want to eat along with a rod and reel. All fish live in their comfort zone when they can, they eat, they try not to be eaten and they reproduce. It’s simple.
My multi-species approach — which is going worldwide this year — has made me a better angler in general and a better bass angler in particular. This last event on Lake Martin proved what I’m saying is true.
I had a pretty good tournament on a really tough lake. We caught more fish than most experts predicted but it was still a struggle at times. At one point I had a legitimate shot to make the Top 12, and I managed a Top 30 finish. That may not sound all that great but it’s a respectable start for the year, especially considering that I’ve struggled at times over the past several years. At least this time I don’t have to dig myself out of a deep hole.
I’ve talked a lot over the years about the new tackle and techniques I learn during my travels so I won’t repeat them here. But I will tell you about another side to what I’m trying to do now. Regardless of whether I’m fishing in Japan, Italy, Taiwan or England, I meet the same group of hardcore, dedicated anglers who only want to catch more and bigger fish.
They all speak a different language and they look and dress a little different but we can still communicate and get along with a cast and a grin after we catch one. Fishing is fishing because not only are the fish similar but so are the anglers who try to catch them. It’s about as cool a thing as I’ve ever seen.
At a time when we all seem to be divided on just about everything that’s a refreshing experience. I never return from one of these trips without feeling better about myself and the world.
Next time I’m going to talk about using tiny hair jigs in really deep water for largemouth bass. I used this technique at Lake Martin and I put several solid keepers in my livewell.
Those of you who read my last column are expecting a picture of me holding up a big squid from Taiwan. It didn’t happen. Our trip was cancelled because of bad weather. I did include a picture of a spotted snakehead and an African catfish I caught while I was there, though.