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When I used to fish tournaments years ago, one of the most common things I heard for not bringing in fish was " my pattern fell apart". I read an article by Larry Nixon. When asked about his tournament success he stated " have a solid back up plan". Never expect one pattern to last. This is not only imperative in tournament fishing, but for all casual fishing as well. Being able to quickly realize that one bite shuts off, and find another is a huge part of bass fishing. It's not easy. The next spot could be a completely different type of fishing- and one that your not 100% comfortable with. Now, even on a 4hr trip, I try to have another 2 more options planned out before hand. Do you make a milk run of some different spots before you go? It can mean the difference between success and failure. 

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I usually take out 8 rods which means I have at least 7 back up plans if they won't hit my buzzbait.😊

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I wasnt very good at tourney fishing if my   plan A didnt work . My back-up plans usually didnt either . Now that I just fish for fun I usually plan on trying  at least two techniques ,areas... and usually end up catching some numbers .

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I used to have a huge problem with this.  I'm a planner.  Of everything.  So I would sit on my couch the night before a fishing outing and for three hours I would study the weather and Navionics and choose all my techniques and colors in advance.  If something turned different the next day or if my plan just didn't work I would fail and even get skunked.  I learned last year that no matter what I plan, if my plan isn't working I can stick a Zoom Trick Worm on a 4/0 hook with a 1/8 weight and throw it in places that LOOK like they COULD have a fish and I will catch something.  This year I'll be adding the Ned Rig to that non-skunk emergency plan along with the Trick Worm.  I still like to have a plan or two plans...but sometimes the fallback becomes the plan.  

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Good post. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

 

Here are my thoughts.

1. Patterns - they can be as short as three fish to as long as three hours or more. And they will change during the day so when you find a pattern that works you play it out for all you can before finding your next one.

 

2.  Always have a "Plan B" - This is why we take so many rods and reels along with us plus 1,000 pounds of baits. Yes, it can be confusing and very frustrating to figure out which technique and bait to throw, but it is part of our hunting efforts. So when "Plan A" falters we go to "Plan B" and then "Plan C" and then just say screw it and start throwing what you think may work.

 

3.  I have a good friend who will make up his mind before he hits the water as to what he will be throwing, where, and how. He is very stubborn and he will not change his mind until he is totally convinced that what he is doing does not work. He is still frustrated to this day although he is a very good tournament fisherman. He could be fantastic if he was just more flexible with his thought process.

 

I really do not have an established milk run. I know where I want to go and will try to hit the places during the day. But to go to a predetermined point A to point B to point C to point D is not my cup of tea.

 

I do have favorite creeks and coves plus shore lines and pads that I will hit first. Then, I have to put myself in a "self-control" mode as I look down the bank for even better targets than the one I am fishing. This means that I may not give my current targeted location the time and love needed to nail one out of the area or turn around and fish it again before moving along. Or going to that "special" place where I caught one five years ago.

 

But this is bass fishing and we all suffer from the same malady: "The Next Spot is Where the Big One is Hiding"

 

So let's move along and say goodbye to all the bass we just passed over. :) 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Sam said:

Good post. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

 

Here are my thoughts.

1. Patterns - they can be as short as three fish to as long as three hours or more. And they will change during the day so when you find a pattern that works you play it out for all you can before finding your next one.

 

2.  Always have a "Plan B" - This is why we take so many rods and reels along with us plus 1,000 pounds of baits. Yes, it can be confusing and very frustrating to figure out which technique and bait to throw, but it is part of our hunting efforts. So when "Plan A" falters we go to "Plan B" and then "Plan C" and then just say screw it and start throwing what you think may work.

 

3.  I have a good friend who will make up his mind before he hits the water as to what he will be throwing, where, and how. He is very stubborn and he will not change his mind until he is totally convinced that what he is doing does not work. He is still frustrated to this day although he is a very good tournament fisherman. He could be fantastic if he was just more flexible with his thought process.

 

I really do not have an established milk run. I know where I want to go and will try to hit the places during the day. But to go to a predetermined point A to point B to point C to point D is not my cup of tea.

 

I do have favorite creeks and coves plus shore lines and pads that I will hit first. Then, I have to put myself in a "self-control" mode as I look down the bank for even better targets than the one I am fishing. This means that I may not give my current targeted location the time and love needed to nail one out of the area or turn around and fish it again before moving along. Or going to that "special" place where I caught one five years ago.

 

But this is bass fishing and we all suffer from the same malady: "The Next Spot is Where the Big One is Hiding"

 

So let's move along and say goodbye to all the bass we just passed over. :) 

 

 

^^^That’s perfect^^^ 👍🏻

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Larry Nixon is known as Mr. Versatile 😉

 

Many assume it's because he mastered many techniques.

 

They would be wrong!

 

Larry is Mr. Versatile because of his ability to quickly read changing conditions & adjust accordingly.

 

The biggest downfall of most anglers is their inability to read changing conditions.

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13 minutes ago, Catt said:

Larry Nixon is known as Mr. Versatile 😉

 

Many assume it's because he mastered many techniques.

 

They would be wrong!

 

Larry is Mr. Versatile because of his ability to quickly read changing conditions & adjust accordingly.

 

The biggest downfall of most anglers is their inability to read changing conditions.

I agree Catt. Larry was one of the all time best because of this.

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3 hours ago, scaleface said:

I wasnt very good at tourney fishing if my   plan A didnt work . My back-up plans usually didnt either . Now that I just fish for fun I usually plan on trying  at least two techniques ,areas... and usually end up catching some numbers .

Yes. I learned this the hard way. In most small tourneys everyone is hitting the banks at first. Spinnerbaits , traps etc. Their catching fish, but many are dinks, to small to bring in. It was after I got with an older guy who knew when to move that I did any good. Banging the banks all day, especially in the hot summer, is a good recipe for failure. It might work for a short time, but then you have to find deeper fish- and often keeper fish too

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18 minutes ago, Mobasser said:

I agree Catt. Larry was one of the all time best because of this.

Catt, I used Larry Nixon as an example. In one tournament- I can't remember exactly where now- he started flipping shallow in the morning, then crankbaits in 15ft water, then plastic worms in 10ft deep. He never wasted time on an unproductive pattern. He was on the move! One of my heroes too, partly because of his plastic worm fishing, which is my favorite. He's a deadly worm/ jig fisherman

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I go out with about 5 plans. I also adjust my rig every few casts, unless I get bit.  I don’t know anything about tournament fishing. Plan B, C, D, E and F are me thinking “in another 10 minutes or 10 hours the fish will start biting.”

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On 1/6/2019 at 2:33 PM, Mobasser said:

Yes. I learned this the hard way. In most small tourneys everyone is hitting the banks at first. Spinnerbaits , traps etc. Their catching fish, but many are dinks, to small to bring in. It was after I got with an older guy who knew when to move that I did any good. Banging the banks all day, especially in the hot summer, is a good recipe for failure. It might work for a short time, but then you have to find deeper fish- and often keeper fish too

 

 

Would you mind to share some strategies? 

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We fished these tournaments in the hottest part of summer. They were half day events, over by noon. In my first couple I entered, I didn't do well.I spent way too much time trying to fish in shallow unproductive water. I talked a co worker into entering with me. His concept was to have 3 different spots - off the bank to fish. We would start the morning with hitting banks for no more 1hr- most times less. Then start a milk run moving between 3 deepwater areas, usually always fishing plastic worms. We could come back to these spots too, in rotation. I don't fish tournaments any more, now fish with my grandson mostly. But this can be a good way to go. It's not easy, and doesn't always work perfectly, but gives you some alternatives.

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Backup plan!

 

Improvise, adapt & over come 😉

 

 

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My plan in the old days was just throw a red shad culprit worm all day in grass and cypress. No back up plan.  99 % of the time youd do pretty good.😏

If they werent biting you just changed to a moccasin culprit and maybe go across the lake and do the same thing.

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Most of my bass fishing is of the “I wanna catch a bass on X presentation today” type.  My back-up plan is to give up on the presentation I *want* to work and try what knowledge and experience tells me what *should* work. 

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My back up plan usually centers around location.  If I'm not doing well, it's a good time to go exploring.

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I think Glen has a video where he ask pro anglers what changes they make when they are struggling . About half said slow down and fish more thoroughly . The others said speed up and cover more water . LOL

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Plan: Go fishing 

Backup Plan: Go fishing 

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The brain is a marvelous thing.  It records everything we do or experience.  It does it without us thinking about it, or even being aware of it.

 

So, where am I going with this?  I learned how to water ski in my sleep.  My buddy and I spent a day trying to get up on water skis.  We spent hours of trying, but never managed to get on top of the water.  All the while, my brain was recording my efforts, and without input from me, processing them.

 

In the middle of the night, during a dream of water skiing, I effortlessly got up on the skis.  I awoke and could hardly wait to try skiing while I was conscious.  Off we went.  I put on my skis, laid on my back, folded my legs so my butt was on the skis, and the tips of the skis were pointed upward.

 

My friend tightened the line, pushed the throttle forward, and without a wiggle or a waggle, I was skimming the surface.

 

What does this have to do with fishing?

 

The next time you are having a slow day, and a thought pops into your mind, try here or there, try this bait or that color.  Listen to your brain and try it.  

 

It has been said we shouldn't over think what we are doing.  Thinking requires a conscious effort on our part.  Call it inspiration.  Say a light bulb lit up in our brain.  However, when you're struggling, stop, look around, take in your surroundings, and when that voice in the back of your head says that's an interesting looking spot, and it "suggests" a bait, don't hesitate.  Listen to that voice in your head. 

 

Your brain might be trying to tell you something.

 

It will relieve the pressure, and in the process, you may find you're having more fun.

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I almost always start with a crank bait and a spinner bait or top water depending on the time and conditions. If these don't work I start going through with soft plastics and then a jig. I like to work areas really good instead of doing run and gun style of fishing.

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Backup plan? That's a weird was of saying spinning rod and stick or turd bait. 

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My plan is usually to check the weather, lake reports, and review my fish logs before I head out on a trip.  Then when I get out on the water I wing it.

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Cousin and I fished in a circuit championship one year at Table Rock Lake . We have never fished TR  and only had  few hours to practice  . We caught a couple of keeper on a steep chunk rock bank and that was our plan. We had no back-up plan . On the first day of the tourney there was a weather change and wind shift . Our area did not give up any fish . We started running different spots not knowing where we were going , ended up getting skunked and not qualifying for day 2 . In hind-sight we should have done some map work , locate  an area to go to as a back-up  and just  go fishing . 

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50 minutes ago, scaleface said:

Cousin and I fished in a circuit championship one year at Table Rock Lake . We have never fished TR  and only had  few hours to practice  . We caught a couple of keeper on a steep chunk rock bank and that was our plan. We had no back-up plan . On the first day of the tourney there was a weather change and wind shift our area did not give up any fish . We started running different spots not knowing where we were going , ended up getting skunked and not qualifying for day 2 . In hind-sight we should have done some map work , locate  an area to go to as a back-up  and just  go fishing . 

Yes. Sounds like my early tournaments. Anything can go wrong, and many times will. Regardless of what lures, rod/reel,teqniques used, being able to change to different conditions has probably won more tournaments than anything. Works equally well for weekend fisherman too

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