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HeavyDluxe

Confessions (and Lessons?) of an FLW Binge-watcher

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So, not sure where I really ought to post this since it isn't focused on tournament fishing, per se.  Mods, move freely!

I've never been someone to watch a lot of tournament fishing... Much of tournament fishing on TV tends to be more about the suspense of the competition or the personalities/experiences of the anglers. That's all good, but I'd rather watch something more instructional that I could more readily apply to the smaller waters I fish here in New England.  That changed this summer - and honestly it was prompted by some of the 'how rare is a 10lb bass here or there' threads that have popped up recently.  I was curious to see how the catches of tournament pros stacked up in terms of average fish per day and weight distribution.  

What can I say?  I'm a huge nerd. 

Anyway, having googled looking for meaningful data dumps from the BASS or FLW tours (which I couldn't find) I wound up on the YouTubes watching videos while I was doing dishes.  My interest got further piqued and I wound up binge-watching close to two years worth of FLW and other tournament videos online in the past 10 days or so.  This spurt settled the big issue around 10lb bass for me, but I also tried to glean as much as I could to put into practice for my own fishing.

Here's what I think I've learned, and I thought it might start a good discussion... So, I'm posting my ramblings here for all to see.  Take with an appropriately large-sized grain of salt... About a half-pound lump ought to do it.  

  1. Tournament anglers seem to know that the game revolves around locating fish... Learning to read the body of water and conditions in order to FIND fish is probably the most important thing I can invest in improving.  All the time in the world spent in 'empty' water isn't going to fill the boat. And I'm sure that I'm not applying enough thought to carefully thinking about why I am doing what I'm doing and where I intend to do it.
  2. Keeping the bait in front of the fish is the best way to get bit.  This sounds self-explanatory, and of course it is.  But, it's clear from watching just how frequently pros cast back to their targets and how little time they spend aimlessly casting or wasting time.  Now, I don't have to beat anyone, but I could learn to combine the thoughtfulness from #1 above with keeping the bait(s) in the strike zone.  Pick a spot that I think holds fish, cast there, work it, and retrieve my bait to cast there again as soon as I feel I'm out of the productive location.
  3. Techniques (drop-shottin', jiggin', crankin', etc) clearly matters but the specifics are not as important as I think we're led to believe.  If you watch, anglers on the same spot will, from camera shot to camera shot, pull out fish on different baits. Again, I'm sure there are cases where the fish are only biting a lime green craw dipped in Penzoil on a Texas rig and not biting anything else. But the majority of time it seems that the main thing is, again, just using a presentation that targets the fish's location (depth, cover/structure) and general mood (active, passive).  I should stop spending so much time fretting about what I have to fish with and focus more of my thinking on whether the location is - given the conditions - apt to be productive.
  4. Having watched a lot recently and tried to be empirical in what I saw, I have to say I'm not sure what to make of pattern fishing... At the very least, patterns seem to be highly localized to specific concentrations of fish.  Again, I'm sure exceptions exist but it seems like the pattern which fish are responding to seems way more broad and general in most situations than I've heard it presented.  Having said that, I do not pay nearly enough attention to the data that I should be getting while fishing.  I turn off my brain and analysis way too much.  Watching these better anglers just convinced me how blind and ignorant I am, functionally, when I fish... whereas these people in the highly-branded shirts and boats watch and think about EVERYTHING.

There's more, I think... but it really is all variations on a theme.  To grow as an angler means to engage the brain way more intensely and consistently on the water than I do.  There are lots of different strategies that are effective in these tournaments.  Generally speaking, there's always someone catching fish shallow and someone catching them deep.  What seems to matter most is using one's noggin to find the fish (moving when necessary), and then thoughtfully analyzing the situation in order to adjust your approach accordingly.

I ponds I fish are blips on the map of some of the massive lakes the pros find themselves fishing... but the general mindset is, I think, the same.  And I'm confident that I'll do better if I try to cultivate a bit of that competitor's mindset when I'm on the water.

 

Curious what others have seen and learned from watching other anglers...  Thanks for reading/replying.

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15 minutes ago, HeavyDluxe said:
  1. Learning to read the body of water and conditions in order to FIND fish is probably the most important thing I can invest in improving.  All the time in the world spent in 'empty' water isn't going to fill the boat.  Same can be said for fishing for BIG Bass in a lake that doesn't have any.
  2. Keeping the bait in front of the fish is the best way to get bit.  Cast to targets not aimlessly. Every Cast has purpose.   
  3. Use a presentation that targets the fish's location (depth, cover/structure) and general mood (active, passive).  
  4. Bass fishing is at least 50 % empirical;  possibly changing every season, every month, every week, every day, & even every hour.  

    To grow as an angler means to consistently be on the water.   

      Know that when I'm confident,  I'll do better. (and enjoy it - this is suppose to be fun)

Nice write up. 

Above is my somewhat abridged & slightly massaged version of your offering.

Not the whole story but enough to keep me busy for the past 50 years or so.

:)

A-Jay

 

 

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dang it all, man!!!!  you're telling about Pennzoil? there you've went and pulled back the veil of secrecy we had all agreed to back in the 70's. at least you didn't reveal the super secret Flatfish color and size.  i agree with you on the importance of locating fish, for sure.

 i think i would do a bit better if i concentrated on just a few techniques/baits instead of the kitchen sink approach i've resorted to at times.

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