Why innovation matters

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Courtesy Mike Iaconelli

For the past couple of weeks I’ve talked about how excited I was to visit Japan and see what they were doing with bass fishing. The point of that conversation was innovation. As most of you know by now, I’m a huge believer in education and improvement through knowledge. That’ll give you useful innovation.

The reason I’m so excited about what they do in Japan is that they’re moving our sport forward. They study, they think and then they innovate.

To be fair, much of that is by necessity. It’s not easy to be a bass angler in Japan. They don’t have as much water as we have and they have restrictions on how, when and where they can bass fish that would curl the toes of American anglers. Now’s not the time to go into all the details. I’ll do that some other week. But I will tell you that I couldn’t believe how restrictive bass fishing is over there.

As a result they have to tweak things and pay attention to details. That’s a lesson for us here in the States.

There’s no doubt in my mind that bass become conditioned to baits that they see all the time, and there’s no doubt in my mind that fishing pressure makes bass skittish. If we’re going to keep catching them, we’re going to have to improve things at the edges. I said before that it’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about making it better.

Rigs like the punch shot are exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe it isn’t for everyone and every lake and river but under the right conditions it can be a super good weapon. It’s different. Bass haven’t seen it before.

So I’m going to take this opportunity to encourage every reader of this column to take the time next year to do something different. I don’t care what it is so long as it’s something you’ve never heard about, seen or used. The only requirement for this project is that the goal must be to catch more or bigger bass.

One thing that comes to my mind is the 10-foot rod thing. Now that they’re legal in B.A.S.S. tournaments I’m assuming they’ll be legal in most of their tournaments. And, even if they aren’t you can sure fish with them when you’re just having fun.

Think about ways you can use that extra length. Obviously, you can pitch and flip farther, and cast farther, too. I’m thinking there are other things out there that none of us have thought about as of right now.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is combining two or three separate lures into one. Years ago somebody tied one plastic jerkbait behind another. It made the lure look like one minnow chasing another. I’m guessing there are maybe a hundred combinations of lures that haven’t been tried yet. However, make sure what you put together is legal where you’re fishing. Some states have strict laws about how many hooks you can have in the water at one time.

Those are just ideas I put together quickly. Do your own thing. It’ll keep us moving forward, and that’s a whole lot better than falling backward or standing still.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebookand Twitter or visit his website, mikeiaconelli.com.