Factoring Out LuckFactoring Out Luck Want to do better at tournaments? Learn from 4-time Classic winner Rick Clunn how he consistently catches fish.
By Earl Golding
Those who fish for them say largemouth bass are probably the most difficult of all species to catch. Rick Clunn, who ranks at the top of the ladder in the minds of many of the professionals and also of recreational anglers as well, stresses the importance of the learning process.
"It never ends," he says, "If you are ever going to get into bass fishing seriously, you've got to forget one thing. That is luck, which has very little or anything to do with it. Fishing is an art and a science. It can be learned. The level you achieve in it is up to you."
"Rick has always said he doesn't believe luck plays any part in fishing. "I don't believe in luck in fishing. You hear people say they blew their engine and that it was bad luck. But blowing an engine could also be attributed to negligence of maintenance." He has always said the key to his success is not necessarily his ability to catch fish. "It is my ability to find them," he says, "before I ever leave home." He has put together a method that allows him to locate fish before he arrives at the lake."
"You get a map," says Clunn, "and think in terms of the water you have to contend with. Fish aren't everywhere." He also says that confidence and concentration have played a large part in his success. He remembers even the small details like how he retrieves his lures, especially if he's going to try something different.
"Small bass are often stragglers and a school may not be far away. Herons and egrets concentrated in an area may mean baitfish and that means bass in the area."
He says off-beat tactics with plastic worms can sometimes fool the bass. He'll change it up by retrieving it like a topwater lure.
Clunn likes to think positive and always pays attention to details. He was one of the first to become known for his success by fishing seasonal patterns, then developing general patterns from those. "What this means is," he says, "is all the bass are in the same area all the time, and do the same thing."
He stresses the importance of finding fish. "Over the years it has now become a lesson that many fishermen now realize the importance of."
There has been many an old saying about this subject, but the one that always comes to my mind first is, show me where to find bass and I'll show you 20 fishermen who can catch them. This is not an exaggerated statement. Finding bass, or any other species of fish, is the hardest part of fishing.
I have known Rick for a very long time. I've got a letter tucked away from him, expressing his appreciation for my writing about him, which he said resulted in getting some new sponsors. He said that it had been a major help in his early days as a professional bass fisherman.
Years ago when the Waco Bass Club asked me to get him to come speak at the club meeting, I called him in Houston and he didn't hesitate to say he would. His courtesy and professionalism continue to this day and that's what separates him from most of the rest.
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