How I Became a Good Bass Fisherman
By Steven W. Wells
It all started about twenty years ago. I first got my feet wet in the back of my Dads boat. I know what you are thinking "That's no different than how I started so what makes this guy any different than me?"
Well I could tell you that the reason I feel I am a good angler is because I have twenty years of experience on the water, or how many tournament wins I have had, or that I learned from a top touring pro and that made me a good bass fisherman, but that is not the case. I firmly believe that it is the intangible things that I have learned that have made me blossom into a good angler. Doing things that the average fisherman would never think of. Try to learn from every fisherman you have ever fished with, and learn from all your experiences. Here are some tips that can make you a great bass fisherman.
First keep in mind that the sport of bass fishing is still very young so this means that all anglers new and professionals still have a lot to learn about the sport! (Remember in basketball when players shot free throws with a granny shot?) Our sport too will keep evolving.
Nothing is better than on the water experience but if you are out there and just going through the motions doing the same thing every time, you are not going to become any better! Keep a fresh mind; be aware of your surroundings and what is actually taking place. If you're having a bad day try something new or move to a different stretch of water.
Take notes on the water, I go to an extreme of having my spouse video tape me fishing, then I will go home and watch the tape or tapes and see what worked and what didn't. This is the best way I have found to do this. I use these as my daily fishing log I date each tape with the lake name on it. When the fishing day starts I talk to the camera telling the conditions I will be facing and what I expect to work for that day. It's like doing your own fishing show but you can go back over them whenever you want and see what you should be doing on a given lake under those given conditions. If you don't have a video camera take a tape recorder or note pad. Use them to take notes and go over them often. This way you are not going to forget about things you have tried in the past.
Watch informative fishing show and DVDs. Don't just watch the videos and listen to the fisherman talk and watch them catch fish. Take some notes, and try some of the things they are doing. Add some new twists to what you have learned. Pay attention and watch them several times in a row you will catch a few things that you missed the first couple times. Go to seminars and classes on bass fishing. Take some notes here too, one thing I like to do is take a small tape recorder with me and record the entire session. (You may want to check with the director of the seminar to make sure this will be ok.) It is just like being in school the more notes you take and the more you study them the better you will do on the test.
Talk to other bass fisherman on forums such as this one and learn new things. If a guy says he uses a new technique that sounds crazy, don't just blow it off try it you'll be surprised at many times things that sound like they shouldn't work will. "I made that mistake when tube baits first came out!"
Read about the sport of bass fishing. There are several bass fishing magazines on the market today. Also there are several bass fishing books that can be bought, or checked out at your local library. Read all the bass fishing material you can get your hands on. Again go over the articles several times trying new and different things you have read about. Don't be afraid to add your own special twist to techniques that are new to you. Bass get conditioned to seeing the same things over and over again. If you are doing something different it very well may pay off with a couple more fish on the end of your line.
Don't sell your self short. Fish hard every time on the water. Don't just fish morning and afternoon. Make a point to fish when the fish are inactive. Most anglers just beat the banks using the same technique and lures every time out. Make it a point to learn to be a different breed of bass fisherman. Learn to fish deep-water structure, new techniques and lures you are not accustomed to using. Try to become very versatile. Learn as many aspects of the sport as you can.
I think you get the idea just be a bass fishing sponge and always be willing to learn. Don't just go bass fishing to catch bass, go bass fishing to learn bass fishing! This is how I have become a good bass fisherman. You just have to put forth the extra effort. Before you know it you will be doing things from instinct, and catching fish when others can't. These are the things that separate the great from the average. In this sport it is the small things that count the most!
There is no greater thing in life than what we choose to do with our free time.