Over the past few months I’ve written several columns about finesse techniques. As a Bassmaster Elite Series angler you might wonder why. After all, I make my living weighing big fish at the end of the day, and that’s the point.
My job is to catch bass. How I do it is secondary. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get the impression that all we do is throw big baits on heavy tackle and wind in quality bass. That’s not true. We suffer the same problems that you – casual anglers and club competitors – do.
The most obvious things we deal with are weather and water conditions. We don’t pick our fishing conditions any more than you do. A tournament is held when it’s held. They’re scheduled months in advance. No one has any idea what the weather will be like. Regardless, we fish.
Something that’s less obvious, but has just as much effect on our fishing, is pressure. It’s everywhere, and especially on the great fishing venues. As soon as there’s a few articles written about a place or you see big heavyweights from a tournament roll in, the place gets run over with anglers. That makes the fishing tough in no time. And, no matter what you might think, pressure bothers us just like it does you. Conditioned or scared fish are hard to catch, period.
Most of you are faced with the same challenges. Your day off work is when you fish. You have to deal with whatever’s there, be it good or bad. The only other option is to stay home, and no self-respecting bass angler would do that.
So here’s the reality: There’s no better way to handle tough conditions that with finesse techniques. I don’t care if you’re after smallmouth, largemouth or spots. A small, black jig, a Neko rig or a No Motion Minnow rig will put them in the boat when nothing else seems to work. That’s why I write about them. They work.
Grubs are great tough fishing baits, too. In fact, they might be the best. Put one on a small, round jig head, swim it around and you’ll catch fish all day long most of the time. They won’t all be bass, either. A grub is one of the best multispecies baits on the planet.
Before I get off of my soapbox I want to say something else. Don’t leave your spinning outfits in the garage because you think they aren’t “real” bass tackle.
You’ll recall I devoted a whole column recently to spooling line on a spinning reel without getting twist in it, and I frequently reference my spinning outfits. What I said came from experience. I use spinning tackle regularly, and so should you.
What I’m trying to say here is that you shouldn’t get caught up too much in the big-time fishing thing. Having a successful fishing trip is, on some level, about catching a few bass. The easiest way to do that, especially if conditions are tough, is to go light. There are exceptions, but you don’t have to worry much about them. They’re easy to spot. It’ll be when they’re grabbing everything you throw at them.