Cook's Bed Fish Technique

As Day 2 of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at the St. Johns River unfolds, we’ll likely see a handful of anglers targeting bedding bass. Florida’s Drew Cook will almost certainly be among them, but if you notice something unique in his presentation, don’t confuse it for nervous fidgeting.

Cook’s technique is intentional.

He’ll pitch a 4-inch Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog to a bed, let the bait settle and then wiggle his bait — but not in typical fashion. Rather than twitching his rod tip, Cook holds the rod in his left hand, reaches across his body with his right hand and simply taps the rod butt with an intermittent cadence.

“When you’re bed fishing, there are two ways of getting them to bite; it’s either hopping the bait and shocking them into biting out of instinct, or you can shake the bait and aggravating them into eating it,” Cook said. “When I flip it in there, I have slack line and I’m tapping my rod tip and that’s only moving may line.

“My bait’s not actually moving, but the appendages are shaking. You’re moving the bait without moving it out of the bed.

Cook also notes that when fish bite a hopping bait, they often get hooked outside the mouth, or barely hooked inside the mouth. Conversely, a fish that bites his bait while it’s laying there wiggling typically gets cleanly hooked.

Unofficially dubbed “The Cook Quake” by the Bassmaster LIVE team, this motion led to a memorable on-camera catch. Cook had been working a bed fish in a small canal when warming temperatures compelled him to shed his rain gear.

As he rolled down his bibs, he made a pitch to the bed, the fish bit quickly and everyone enjoyed watching Cook hop shuffle around his deck with rain gear around his knees.

He caught the fish.