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Chris

The next generation

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(This is going to be interesting)

I have read this statement often "fish your strength" or "no pro can be masters of everything" or "not everyone fishes every single kind of bait."

Sound familiar? Here is the prediction. The next generation of tournament fishermen that go down the pipe that are highly successful will be as proficient with one lure as with the rest of the lures in their box. The reason why I can make such a bold statement is because of the amount of education that is available today is more accessible than years ago. If you have a young tournament angler who takes the time to learn each bait there wouldn't be a strength. Today they call it versatility because they still have the mind set that nobody can learn it all or that nobody can be proficient with more then one or two techniques. The more that you understand each lure and the more you take the time on the water to use each lure the easier it is to be proficient with it. If you give up on the lure or loose the drive for knowledge to understand the lure then you kinda get stuck and get discouraged. (This is the part that might sound like I got a big head and I don't mean it that way) I am just as proficient with a crankbait as a jig, finesse lure, worm, spinnerbait, topwater and everything else in between. I literally use my entire box when I fish. When I get on to something then I narrow it down. Am I good with a crankbait you bet but I can also hold my own with a spinnerbait, jig, topwater, plastics, jigging spoon, you name it. I took the time to learn the rest of my box. If you narrow yourself down to just a handful of lures I feel that you are missing out and you will not reach your full potential. To tell you the truth the hardest lure to learn is a crankbait. It was for me anyway and what made it hard was depth control. It was hard for me to learn to make a cast and reel my lure down to hit a single stump that was sitting in deep water. It took time the same with any other lure. I think the idea of a "master" is kinda far fetched because you are always learning, proficient is more accurate. Confidence in a lure comes from catching fish. Proficiency comes from learning how to maximize the lures potential. The more you expand your knowledge of other lures the more your going to be able to catch fish when conditions change or when you faced with new water. You begin to learn that each lure is a tool and it is just a matter of figuring out the right tool for the job. Learning the limitations of each lure is the key to figuring out which lure works where. That comes from using them.

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Man, now you went and did it.  You made me actually use my brain before it is warmed up and stretched out...  ;D ;D

But, seriously, very good thread, and I think you are on the right track with your thinking, however, I would add that everyone's fishing "style" is a little different.  

Fishing a dropshot is infinitely more difficult for a hyper person than fishing a crank or spinnerbait.... IMO they are going to not use a lure if it is boring to them or they just plain can not stand to stand or sit in a boat and do nothing.

Meanwhile a laid back person, who has the patience of the saints might fish a dropshot rig or other very slow finesse presentation all day long, and not even blink an eye.

I think personality and a persons style play a lot into how they fish, and what lures they become proficient at using.

Just my penny worth of thought.

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I agree the next generation of tournament fishermen/fisherwomen will be more versatile; however, I think the average angler will rarely be proficient with every lure because he/she works too much to spend that much time on the water, at least until he or she retires.  There will be some people who are able to find the time, but again, this will be rare, compared to the number of total anglers.  I have tried to become proficient with every lure and technique I can, but I still haven't achieved proficiency with all of them.  Why?  Lack of time.  

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I'll suggest that opportunities are also a huge reason... Bass fishing is so popular now and so many people have bass boats to take their kids on that this and the next generation have the opportunity to learn very young, thus giving them more time to learn and also have us parents providing bass specific tackle, gear and knowledge.  (sort of the earl woods effect)  And your idea (especially the internet) compounds this.

How many of us are self taught bass fisherman?  I bet most of the guys here over 30 would fall into that category... where as, a larger percentage of the younger ones have had a good deal of help getting started.

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I guess I'm not really sold on the whole concept of "versatility". Tournament fishing, especially at the professional level, is about selling equipment, plain and simple. I fish a variety of lures and techniques with tecchnique specific equipment because that is FUN for me. I like collecting lures, but frankly, I doubt that I have actually fished more than half of what I own. Does that sound familiar?

If I were only interested in catching the most and/or biggest fish, I probably wouldn't fish anything but live bait. With all the choices available in artificial baits, I could fish soft plastics and jigs exclusively. I would like to throw a few reaction lures into the mix, but those lures (generally) produce more numbers than size. Right now, during the fall, I am mostly fishing jerkbaits because I like to. I'll fish crankbaits and maybe a spinnerbait (uh) once-in-awhile. But why? To be "versatile", of course!

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I'll suggest that opportunities are also a huge reason... Bass fishing is so popular now and so many people have bass boats to take their kids on that this and the next generation have the opportunity to learn very young, thus giving them more time to learn and also have us parents providing bass specific tackle, gear and knowledge.  (sort of the earl woods effect)  And your idea (especially the internet) compounds this.

How many of us are self taught bass fisherman?  I bet most of the guys here over 30 would fall into that category... where as, a larger percentage of the younger ones have had a good deal of help getting started.

Good point, Flechero.  There are some young people on this forum who are way ahead of where I was at that age, regarding fishing for bass.  Of course, back in the day, you could still catch quantity and quality without being as versatile because there was a lot less fishing pressure.

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I agree with chris 100%!  Not only do I want to become proficient with 99% of the lures out there, I plan on it.  Versitility is the key!

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senile1,

Back "in the day" when I was a kid living in K.C. (Raytown), we fished all the time at Lake Jacomo and caught some fish, but never any big bass. The last few times I have fished there with my dad and brother, one of us has caught at least one nice fish and several bass 3-4 lbs. The pressure on that little lake is at least a hundred times greater than it was "back then". I'm not very versatile on Lake Jacomo, Senkos only, but next time I'm going to branch out and throw a Fat Ika!

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The learning curve for avid bass anglers now days has been cut in half with the tool of the forum and computers.

Throwing them and learning is a big part, but getting first hand knowledge given to you at the stroke of a key is certainly an option that us casual tournament fishermen didn't have, nor pleasure fishermen have in the early years.

Do you think Denny Brauer would be a different kind of angler if he was just coming up on the tour today?    When I think of Denny, I think jigs mainly.

Lures and baits are basically the same designs.    A creature bait is a creature bait, a crank is a crank.    

What has really changed, is the number of ways to fish a bait and the number of ways to rig it.     Hooks, weights, lines, and terminal tackle have come along ways.

Very nice thread Chris.

Hookem

Matt.

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senile1,

Back "in the day" when I was a kid living in K.C. (Raytown), we fished all the time at Lake Jacomo and caught some fish, but never any big bass. The last few times I have fished there with my dad and brother, one of us has caught at least one nice fish and several bass 3-4 lbs. The pressure on that little lake is at least a hundred times greater than it was "back then". I'm not very versatile on Lake Jacomo, Senkos only, but next time I'm going to branch out and throw a Fat Ika!

;D  Maybe I should say generally speaking, it was easier back in the day.  I think what helps Jacomo is that they still limit the motor size.  I think the limit is 10 HP but I could be mistaken.  Many anglers go to other lakes where they can crank their motors.  I haven't fished Jacomo but I've heard good things about it lately.  I'm going to have to get out there.  It's a pretty place considering it is surrounded by suburbs but when you're there you can't really tell the metro area surrounds it.

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I fish about 3 medium size non-pro team tourny trails a year and then a handful of jackpot charity type deals and this is what i see. Over 40 yr old guys chunkin and windin or wormin', and the sons of that generation tend to do so also in many cases. These guys are "hole" fisherman for the most part, and you can find them on the same spot on the same lake on just about every tourny. Under the 40yr old mark I see quite bit more versatility, or lets say multiple technique utilization. I fit into this 2nd category, and I fish against a few "young" local guys that are touring pros on bass and flw....I run into them quite a bit on the water. One fellow in particular seems to turn up everywhere i fish...I read the conditoins, and fish in as versatile manner as possible to meet those conditions. Its not an original idea, I leaned it from observing the consistant money takers. I can go old school: wormin, spinnerbait, crankin when the conditions dictate, but I can also go sissy wand versitile when I need to. I find that when old school is it I have stiff competition...those guys are good at their game. I find that when it is time for light line, or bizzare niche fishin' I do well. Versatility i dont believe is the key to catching bigger fish, its the key to catching fish more consistantly. I dont look for patterns, I look for trends...to my detriment sometimes, but i am still an infant in this world of hardcore money fishin. I have 15 rigs constantly rigged ranging from pool cue flippin stick to spiderweb silk for d-shot, and Ill probably use at least half everytime I hit the water if for no other eason than to get better at being more versatile (being able to switch gears).

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(This is going to be interesting)

I have read this statement often "fish your strength" or "no pro can be masters of everything" or "not everyone fishes every single kind of bait."

The other thing you hear quite often is "I would never throw a bait I don't have confidence in".   And while this may make sense to me if the bait is shaped like an old shoe, or the bait has no relevence to the kind of fish in the lake/pond you're fishing, for every other case, the only way to gain confidence is to learn and practice.    As for everything else in life, you never learn if you never try.

Chris, I think you said it well.  

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Guest avid

Leave it to Chris to force people to actually think.  :-/

I'm going to take a position on this even though I haven't thought it through as much as would like to.

However, I don't agree.

I think that successful tournament fisherman have favorite lures just like everyone else.  I think they recognize conditions where one type of lure will probably work better in a particular size and presentation.  That is what I believe makes them consistant winners.  But i don't believe that in most cases the specific lure is the key to catching bass.  Locating the most active fish and making a proper presentation is the key.  I honestly do not think that a pro, or anyone else needs to proficient in a hundered different lures.  I think he needs to be proficient in recognizing the best way to fish a particular type of cover, structure, depth or clarity to locate and catch the bass that are presant at that time.

And in case I sound too certain, let me add IMHO  8-)

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I remember watching a show right after Jay Yelas won the classic. He is teamed up with Doug Hannon and they both give points of views I think they called it the Science and the art of fishing. Anyway, Jay spoke on not having to be good at every lure you own. He said it is better to find what you are good at and find the water where you can fish what you are good at. He said that is what he does. Doesn't sound like a whole lot of versatility to me. Does the phrase jack of all trades master of none come into anyone's minds here? With all due respect to Chris or anyone else, there is no way every lure can be "mastered" equally by the same guy. I think I am pretty good with just about every lure there is too. But I am not in the same league of guys who do nothing but fish their favorite stle of lures. Follow me on this? We get good by practice. If I am throwing 50 different lures every time I go fishing I am not spending the same time on say Senkos then another guy is who is ONLY throwing senkos.

Also, what do you guys think of when you think of KVD? I think of power fishing all the way. Does Kevin even own a worm? lol. He is a speed guy extraodanare (sp?) he fishes to his strengths when he fishes.

I honestly believe that on a big lake like most of those guys fish there are places where just about each presentation will catch fish and would be the best for that scenario. Great anglers find the places that are the best places for their skilled mastering of a certain style of bait can be utilized to it's fullest.

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IMO, I think after looking over the results from pro tourneys, that if these anglers would learn to be proficient in 99% of the lures out there, they wouldn't be getting skunked here and there. When the fishing is slow, and no one is boating fish, I think that there is always something that will catch fish, and using it properly is the key.  Look at other sports over the past 20 years.  It is natural for things to evolve and become more difficult.  5 years ago, a back flip on a dirt bike was considered impossible, now every rider in the X-games can do back flips on a dirt bike.  Fishing is becoming the same way, give it a few more years, and the competition will be incredibly difficult. Just MHO.

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Guest avid
IMO, I think after looking over the results from pro tourneys, that if these anglers would learn to be proficient in 99% of the lures out there, they wouldn't be getting skunked here and there. When the fishing is slow, and no one is boating fish, I think that there is always something that will catch fish, and using it properly is the key. Look at other sports over the past 20 years. It is natural for things to evolve and become more difficult. 5 years ago, a back flip on a dirt bike was considered impossible, now every rider in the X-games can do back flips on a dirt bike. Fishing is becoming the same way, give it a few more years, and the competition will be incredibly difficult. Just MHO.

You have a point, but it falls short.  Mastering a back flip or running a 3:49 mile is pushing the envelope on HUMAN abilty.  Making a fish bite is a different story.  Personally, I think fishing will become easier over time.  The technology will continue to advance.  You may or may not agree with BassSonix sound device to trigger fish into biting.  But sooner or later a reliable gadget will be invented that will do just that.  Like the saying goes "If we can put a man on the moon.............."

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IMHO avid you are correct, but I was refering more to the fact that many anglers today focus on their strengths, and how the sport will evolve into more anglers mastering many lures. If the bass have lock jaw and all you fish are your strengths, and the guy in the next boat has the ability to fish many different lures efficiently, I believe that the more versatile angler has a better chance of taking in a quality limit, than the angler who only fishes their strengths. I think it will increase your odds of catching fish. Just like you have a better chance of winning the lottery, if you buy 100 tickets, rather than say just  10.

IMO, a device that triggers bass to bite would take the sport out of tourney angling.  Anyone could catch fish with no skills at all.  

Most on this site would agree that bass fishing has seen a boom within the past several years, and if this generation pushes the limits just as the current top anglers have, the sport will become more and more advanced, as well as more difficult at the same time.  The fishing pressure has increased more and more due to the boom in bass anglers, and I believe it will get worse and worse, thereby making the fish spookier and harder to catch, unless you can master many different lures efficiently, as to present something the bass are not familiar with.  It is hard for me to put into words, but I think you get my gist.  just MHO

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I fit in here somewhere close to RW.

I now buy in bulk. We've figured out our lake pretty well over the years and although my partner still insists on catching on a number of things, I've narrowed it down to the 4 or 5 things that I know work.

Don't get me wrong, I, as I am sure RW has, have taken the time through the years to get proficient on many different baits, styles and presentations. I have found that only a handful of these give you the opportunity for BIG BASS.

This topic ,however, applies to "tournament" angling, somthing I'm really not into anymore . I'm hunting big bass now and although many of the baits/lures used in the past are great for achieving a limit of 5, a limit isn't my goal.

I agree with Avid also that as versatile as many pros may be, I'm sure many go back to the 2 or 3 confidence presentations they have when things get tough.

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While one might be proficient with every lure or technique available their brain will pick one it feels more comfortable with. Fishing to your strength do not mean that's all you can do it just means that should be what you start with.

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Here is my suggestion for learning to fish a variety of lures and techniques:

Pick a lure or class of lures and fish them EXCLUSIVELY at a given time of day or on a particular outing. I am still working to make jigs one of my "go to" baits. When I am fishing a jig, that is all I fish. I don't carry anything else so my mind doesn't wander thinking about something else I should be throwing. It's jig or nothing and it usually works.

Forget about "letting the fish tell you what they want". This ain't Burger King, they are gettin' it MY WAY! That won't always work, but you will be surprised how often it does. I take this approach with a variety of lures. I don't like to fish spinnerbaits for example. Why? Because everyone throws them. So, a couple of times this year that was ALL I fished and guess what? They work, too!

If you want to learn to use a new class of lures, you need to spend some time focused on fishing them.

It's really that simple.

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Here is my suggestion for learning to fish a variety of lures and techniques:

Pick a lure or class of lures and fish them EXCLUSIVELY at a given time of day or on a particular outing. I am still working to make jigs one of my "go to" baits. When I am fishing a jig, that is all I fish. I don't carry anything else so my mind doesn't wander thinking about something else I should be throwing. It's jig or nothing and it usually works.

Forget about "letting the fish tell you what they want". This ain't Burger King, they are gettin' it MY WAY! That won't always work, but you will be surprised how often it does. I take this approach with a variety of lures. I don't like to fish spinnerbaits for example. Why? Because everyone throws them. So, a couple of times this year that was ALL I fished and guess what? They work, too!

RW, you just struck a nerve in my thought process.  It seems when I go out and stick with one or two lures,(usually topwater and plastics) I catch fish, it may be slow, but I catch fish.  When I start trying to out thing myself, and using everything in the boat, but the tacklebox itself, is when I get no results at all.  

I have to agree with you, this aint Burger King!  The fish if they are going to bite, they will bite what ever it is that you are fishing, if you keep it in front of thier nose long enough or give them the chance to ambush it.  That being said, though, it begs the question why some people can not fish certain lures with success.  Me, it is spinnerbaits, and most jerkbaits.  I have caught one fish on a spinnerbait, an 8 lb. catfish.  Never have caught a fish on a jerkbait. So you know what, I never pull them out.  

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Bottum line- you can catch a fish at any time on anything you choose at any spot on the lake or in a a pond or where ever...if you invest the time to do so. This may not be the most productive way to go about gettin fish smell on your hands though. My intent as a cheifly tournament minded angler is to catch weight. to do so i have found that being proficient with a number of techniques (not nescessarily # of lures) is key. You have to find that point in the gradation between reaction and finnesse that the fish are best responing to at that particuler moment. If your not all that great, or dont try key points in that gradation between reaction and finnesse you will probably miss a few fish you could have put in the boat and for me that means $$$. I try to be VERSATILE, but sometimes get thumped regularly by the guys who only chunk spinnerbaits and blue fleck pw. My theory sounds good, but the results arent always fitting the model..something must be wrong with the results!!LOL

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Lets take this a step further:

 If you have a group of tournament fishermen that only fish one lure that is their strength and they fish a verity of different lakes and rivers with different kinds of clarity and cover and depths can one strength win all the tournaments? It is a little different if you fish the same kinds of conditions and water because one style of fishing can hold up in many kinds of water. It also changes things the longer the tournaments is. In many cases if the tournament is short there isn't much of a need to change your lures because the conditions or patterns hold up during a short tournament. But if the tournament is two days or longer things change.

 Within the group of tournament guys I fish against you have a few that only throw spinnerbaits, some that only throw crankbaits, some that only throw jigs, some that only throw plastics. They will live or die by one lure or a group of the same style of lures. During the year we fish many different kinds of water. When it is a jig day the guys that jigs are their strength tend to do well, when it is a spinnerbait day the guys that spinnerbaits are their strength tend to do well, and so on. No one style or family of lures can win all the tournaments. Why because each body of water has a set of conditions that one style of fishing will excel and others will not be the best lure for the set of conditions. If you have a predominate lure that some guys are winning most of the tournaments with then you need to look at the conditions that each body of water has and figure out what the common denominator was that made that one lure excel over the others. In most cases it is the clarity of the water, cover, depth or the combination of the three.

 Some guys will use the same family of lures in different ways to achieve the same effect as if they where using another lure all together. A jig can be fished on the bottom like a worm or it can be swim it like a crankbait to give and example. Some guys use a paddle tail worm as a spinnerbait or a floating worm as a topwater bait. Some guys will use a spinnerbait as a buzzbait or a jig. Some guys will use a lure in the same family of lures to fill the nitch needed within the conditions they are faced with. They do this to overcome a lack of confidence or knowledge in the other lures in their box that would be just as effective or in some cases more effective. They have grown their knowledge base to figure out a lure within the family of lure styles that fills the need.

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Lets illustrate this a little:

If you took all the guys on this forum to a lake and told them that there was a stump sitting in 15ft of water that was loaded with fish then split everyone up by fishing strength. You then take them out as a group and let them fish the stump.

Spinnerbait:

They might use a 1/2 oz or 1 oz single willow blade spinnerbait and cast it out then bump the stump then kill it to let it fall to the bottom then jerk it to start the blades then reel it in.

Jig:

They might use a 1/2 oz jig and drop the jig next to the stump bringing it over the stump.

They might try to swim it to the stump bumping the stump then swim it back.

They might just leave the jig next to the stump and shake the jig and hop it a few times.

Crankbait:

They might crank it to the stump bumping the stump at the top of the stump.

They might let the bait dig the bottom and then ram the stump and then pause the bait before reeling it in.

Worm:

They might fish the worm close to the stump and inch it through the area. They might use it as a drop bait and hop it a few times. They might swim the bait through the area.

Senko:

They might use a swimming senko and swim it to the stump then kill it. They might use it like a jerk bait and walk the dog above it.

Fat Ika:

They might walk the dog to the stump and then kill it. They might use it like a worm and hop and shake the lure through the area. They might use it like a tube and use it like a drop bait.

But what happens when your style of fishing isn't producing? You move on. The fish are still there and are still catchable but because you are unable to use the other lures in you box you will never know it because you moved on. The one guy that has the strength that fits the conditions hooks up with fish and the other guys who fished the stump are left shaking their heads. They chalk it up to well that was his strength.

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It's a foregone conclusion that there'll always be hot new lures and hot new techniques, but some things never change.

Speaking just for myself, my learning curve may resemble a gradually inclining plane, but my 'versatility curve'

looks more like a parabola. Let me explain.

                     Beginning in my pre-teens and continuing to around age 50, the variety of my lures and the complexity of my sport

has continually accelerated. I have since reached a crossroads where I now direct the lion's share of my thought and energy

on "simplifying" my sport (an art onto itself). My mission is to master the few key lures and techniques with greater proficiency,

the same philosophy I use with knot tying (a few good men).

                 

Roger

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