Be productive when fishing for bass. Make every day on the water memorable.
Here are 10 ways to completely blow a day of bass fishing.
Don’t have a game plan
Unless the plan is to sit back and watch a bobber for eight hours, there has to be a strategy in order for time on the water to be productive. Keep an eye on the weather leading up to the day. Find a topographic map, or check message boards for recent information. Just a little bit of research prior to the day can make the difference between filling the boat with bass or just casting into the wind.
Don’t trust your instincts
Once you’re out on the water, go with your gut. We all have confidence baits; don’t be afraid to switch up and throw them! It may be a decision that goes against the plan for the day, but if it gets bass in the boat, then it’s a good choice. There’s something to be said for trying a pattern until it works, but at some point you have to let common sense and better judgment take over.
Leave your confidence at home
“If you’re not losing your bait, you’re not trying.” A boater said that to me during a state tournament, as we cruised the banks skipping senkos under overhangs. Don’t worry about losing that $10 lure; make the cast you know you need to make. If you hold back, it’ll backfire.
Don’t try something new
Adjust, adjust, adjust! Bodies of water are in a constant state of motion. Chances are, the lake will not be the same at noon as it was at dawn. Be confident and go out of your comfort zone to make the appropriate choice that the water is dictating. Bass fishing is a game of adaptation.
Don’t be creative
Try a new trailer on a jig. Recreate a rig you saw on a television show with something similar from your tackle bag. Help to evolve the sport!
One of the beauties of fishing is that innovation is a part of the experience. Take a minute and Google some of the earliest Heddon lures or Abu Garcia reels, and then look at the current designs that are available today. The sport is progressive in nature and the productive angler must be so as well.
Don’t maintain your boat
We’ve either lived the nightmare, or heard about the terrible stories in the parking lot once we returned to the ramp: no trolling motor because of a dead battery; the lower unit blew because of a lack of maintenance; or, a livewell full of dead bass due to a faulty bilge pump.
Again, a little bit of preparation and maintenance of the boat will go a long way. Also, be careful at the ramp. No one wants the day to end at the launch. Check the trailer before even leaving for the water.
Don’t maintain tackle
“I had a five-pounder on, but my line snapped. I should’ve re-spooled yesterday.”
Whether it’s true or not, don’t be the guy that says this at the end of the day. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a chunk of a bass get away because of old, beat up gear.
Don’t prepare for the elements
Last year was my first summer fishing bass tournaments as a rider. Because of some negligence on my part, I found myself being soaking wet and also sunburnt to the point of blisters. The weather will change while on the water. At the very least, being prepared for rain and sun can make the day a whole lot better.
There’s nothing worse than not realizing it’s going to be 35 degrees at the time of a launch and not having the right outerwear. Once that boat gets on a plane, you’ll learn to never make that mistake again.
Don’t appreciate the elements
“A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.” I’ve not slept the night before a day on the water, with lucid visions of a spinnerbait bite that lasts all day long. However, hitting the water during a cold front can turn those dizzying dreams into a day full of nothing but casting. Be sure to take a minute, take a deep breath and realize how fortunate you are to be where you are.
Don’t have the ability to learn or teach
When I got serious about bass fishing, I was fortunate enough to be able to fish with some very knowledgeable anglers that were willing to help me learn. I’m forever grateful for those guys and their tutelage. Every day on the water is full of lessons, if the angler is willing to see them for what they are: opportunities to improve or to be educated.
Whatever the situation, don’t hold back from listening or demonstrating. Otherwise, the sport doesn’t have the ability to grow and to be shared with future generations.