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Fish Chris

How open minded are you ???

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Okay, so yesterday, a buddy and I were talking about a well known CA big bass angler we both know.

Now first off, he's a very nice guy. He is also as straight up as they come. If he tells you he caught a 4.9 lb bass, he caught a 4.9 lb bass {I don't care if he was by himself}. Anyway, this guy is a 'great' fisherman..... at the techniques he fishes. Mostly jigs and plastic worms. I'll tell you later about how many DD bass he has caught....

So my buddy tells me this guy caught a his new PB Smallie last week from my favorite Smallmouth lake..... a 4.7 lb'er..... Huh ? I caught 5 of them bigger than that "last week".... and this has been a tough year !?!?

But then we start discussing this guys techniques. He doesn't sight fish. Now, I'm not sure if he has any kinds of 'moral problems' with sight fishing, but I do know he wears some pretty heavy duty prescription glasses. So maybe he just doesn't have the eyesight for it. {I have excellent eyesight, and still, their are many times when I can't quite see as well as I'd like to. Sonar / X-ray vision would be nice ;-)}

Next, I talked to this guy about live bait once (it's been a long time, but to the best of my memory) he said, "He didn't have any personal issues with it" but it was just too much of a pain to transport, and too slow to fish, yada, yada. Okay. That's cool.

And finally, this guy can't / won't fish swimbaits. He says they are just too big and heavy, and his shoulders (or some part of his body) just can't handle throwing a big, heavy swimbait all day. Uhhh.... Okay. But I think if I had the physical ability to drag myself out of bed in the morning, I'd struggle to make at least 2 or 3 casts at each of my best, big fish spots. {I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions about swimbaits... You don't "have" to to throw them all day. I mean, you can if you want to, but you will get 90% of the effect by throwing them a few times, on each of your best spots}

So my buddy and I are discussing this guys big fish catches, and it dawns on me........

This guy does basically "nothing" that I do to catch my big bass :-/

The latest breakdown for my 87 DD bass (all caught in the last 11 years) would be right at:

25% on live bait (all either crawlers or dads)

33% sight fishing

40% swimbaits

2% blind fishing, with a small soft plastic, not on a bed (almost forgot the two big ones I got doing this two years ago :-)

Bottom line is, I'm not surprised this guy has to work so much harder to get his big fish. However, to his credit, I should mention, that he has caught, I believe somewhere around, 40 DD bass in the last 30 years, with a PB of just over 14. Pretty impressive, regardless of his methods..... but IMPO, even moreso, when you stop to consider all the limitations he has put on himself.

Your thoughts ?

Peace,

Fish

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I think sometimes, we put too much stock in the catching of the fish as the most essential part of the enjoyment of fishing. He may be fishing with worms and other plastics the way he wants to fish, whether it means it will catch him bigger fish or not, for example, I'd rather fish a super spook junior all day, catch 8 fish and witness the explosions, than fish a carolina rig and catch 20 fish. My partner essentially refuses to flip, unless in a tourney, because he just doesn't enjoy it. yes, he knows he can catch fish that way, but he doesn't find it to be very fun.

now obviously, for tourney situations, all bets are off, and you gotta do what you can to get in the money, but if this guy is mostly fun fishing, and he most enjoys the techniques he uses, and the thrill of the catch on them, then there is nothing wrong with that.

I've caught over 50 fish on an xrap, several times, but one of my most memorable days was 20 fish on the stick marsh on top water. its jsut all about how you enjoy to fish.

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I hear you Big Mike, and in many ways, I agree. It's just that this guy calls himself a 'big bass' angler...... which in my book, kind of means, the most important part of most trips, is catching, or at least being in the running, for a big bass.

I can certainly relate to doing some things, sometimes "just because they are more fun". Recently, I've caught a couple on crawlers, just because I wanted to play with them on the micro-light.

Typically, for myself though, holding a big bass (the bigger, the better) is the most fun I can have ;-)

I am planning some trips later this Summer, to a place where I don't expect to get any DD bass. Just lots of 3 to 7 lb'ers.... an 8 or 9 if I'm lucky..... a 10 if the stars line up just right ;-) But yes, that will just be to switch gears from the normal trophy bass mind-set, to relax, and just have fun.

Couldn't ever see myself doing that 100+ days a year again though.

Peace,

Fish

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I guess my being 'open minded' was when I started fishing ultra light last year. I had spent the winter of '07 reading up on it and I got the bug.

I've increased my overall numbers dramatically, without really sacrificing size. I've gotten quite a few 3 -4 lb fish. What it really did was open me up to more species of fish that I never saw much of when I fished heavier gear. I still fish heavy gear when the situation calls for it, but light is my preference now. The quality of ul gear these days is awesome, it makes all the difference.

This year I'm trying jigs, cranks and small paddletail swimbaits. I always mainly relied on soft plastics (worms) in the past because they were good for me, but I feel like I relied on them too much.

My goal is to learn a new technique every season.

BTW Chris, what's your biggest fish caught on ul ? what # line ?

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I do anything that will catch me the largest bass possible. Even if it would involve a cane pole.

This guy isn't thinking outside the box. He doesn't even have to cast the big baits if he doesn't want to. He can deadstick swimbaits and troll them!

Also he could stitch big 10-15 inch worms on light 6-8 lb test flourocarbon line with a 7ft medium spinning rod.

You need to tell this guy there are options where he doesn't need to sight fish or even cast much. All the techniques I listed require very,very little casting.

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I'm not particularly fond of sight fishing not for any moral reason because I believe it doesn't harm the population as long as you release them. It's just than my home lake is Toledo Bend as most everyone here knows and during the spawn on the bend the big bass are so far back in the buck brush it's impossible to reach them from a boat or bank.

I don't fish live bait because as mentioned they are a pain to transport and I'm just now starting to experiment with swim baits.

That leaves my trusted Texas Rigs, Jig-N-Craws and a knowledge of deep water structure which has produced 25 DD bass with the largest being 12.8#. I don't consider myself a big bass expert like y'all out in California but I do tend to average a higher percentage of bigger bass than anyone I personally know.

I don't know what arena I fall under since I'm not strictly big bass or a tournament angler but when I'm participating in either that's all I want to do.

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The title of the thread is "How open-minded are you?" and this can be defined in a number of ways.

pitchinallday stated:

This guy isn't thinking outside the box.

FishChris stated:

It's just that this guy calls himself a 'big bass' angler.

I understand giving someone pointers to help them improve, but if this guy is aware of these other tactics and doesn't use them I guess he's doing what he likes to do.  Maybe we should open our minds to his definition of a big bass angler. Should we try to make his fishing tactics fit our view of what they should be? Just because he doesn't use all the tactics that you or I would use doesn't necessarily support the conclusion that he is closed-minded or not thinking out of the box. I guess someone who likes to drive over 100 mph on the highway could say that the vast majority of us are closed-minded to the fun we could be having because we drive at saner speeds. ::) I know that's not necessarily analogous to fishing but I'm sure you get my point. Different strokes for different folks. ;)

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California Big Bass fishermen catch more big bass , because they live where the big bass are.Chris, if you lived in PA, and targeted big bass you would be happy to just barely crack double digits.

 The guys who target big fish, have a talent they have honed over years experience, does that make them the most open minded or best fisherman on the planet. Hardly, it puts you in the package/category of being a big bass hunter and a very successful one.

That is not where my enjoyment comes from and hanging out with guys who are experts or better than you, then going to their style does not make one open minded. I played drums and hung out with a lot of drummers who were eons better than I was, and did I glean some stuff from them? Yes, did hanging out with them or copying them make me better NO! Practice and application made me better

 Same with fishing. I got chastised here by a big fish guy from Cali, because i doubted then and doubt now a feat he posted, it is impossible to do. He gave me"on more chance to apologize" it never came and never will

 I have learned more from your posts than his, a lot of the information you have been kind enough to share, is universal and i thank for that

 Bottom line; Catt,Paul Roberts, J Franco, Fish For Dollars and many others have given me far more useful and universal information.

 Bottom line about hunting for big fish, they gotta be there to begin with to catch em. It is an art or a talent but it is not the be all and end all of fishing. Trying to catch a 20 lb Bass where I live would be as futile as hunting for African lions or Crocodiles here.

Just becuase you offer info and someone doesn't heed it does not make them closed minded , it makes them uninterested in doing things your way. Would you change your style to fish his style?

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Hooray for Muddy, I was about to regurgitate after reading this post until I came upon his.

To be open minded is appreciating what someone else is doing, not criticizing.  Without knowing the original poster or the person being talked about I may be reading a perception rather than actual fact.

I fish more than most, close to 365 days a year, saltwater in the morning, fresh in the afternoon.  In over 55 years of fishing I have caught many notable fish, I don't weigh them and I don't count them. I see little point in bragging about size and numbers. I have posted a few pics, something I will never do again.

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Fish Chris

As an objective observer I would say any bass fisherman fishing anywhere in the United States with 40 DD bass to his credit qualifies as a "big fish" fisherman. With those numbers he is successful in what he does the way he enjoys doing it. Your numbers of DD bass is comendable. My hats off to both of you.

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Great point Muddy.

As a further example, one of my old loves was bowling. I had a solid 180 average. I had an uncle that was a 210 average. He would throw idea after idea at me to get past the 180 point I was at. He had good points but to implement them, I would have had to change my bowling style soo much, it would take me back to being a 140 average for a while till I could get comfortable.

I have gotten some awesome tips here. Most of which I have on my wish list to implement. After thrashing on trying too many new things at once. I chilled out and picked one. This year I am focusing adding jigs to my arsenal and learning to fish them effectively. Since I am focusing on one, I am actually making progress here. Before that I was sucking with Jigs, lipless cranks, and a couple top water rigs I have.

Just takes time to move everything into the arsenal and actually learn to do it competently.  

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I wonder if this angler caught the majority of his DD fish years ago, when fishing pressure was not so intense as it probably is now. If your goal is to catch specific and big old fish nowadays, and any number of them, you probably are limiting yourself by not using all available methods.

But I like the limitations I impose on myself. Like leaving bait fishing for fly-fishing for trout and steelhead so many years ago. Maybe the best example is my hunting. I gave up the rifle for the compound bow, then the compound for the traditional, then to the primitive -bows I make myself by hiking into the woods and cutting down the tree. Limitations can heighten satisfaction.

Here's a cool limitation a very good elk hunter once embarked on. He decided to try to take a specific elk calf with a primitive bow (25 yard range). Calves are by far the best eating, but are also well protected within a herd of sharp-eyed cows. Now that kind of limitation is pretty cool, in that it doesn't involve bragging -most hunters wouldn't even realize it as maybe the supreme elk hunting challenge.

All that said, the game surrounding the catching of truly giant bass just doesn't exist where I live. The vast majority of the mature bass here die at 18 to 20inches. Maybe I'd be wrapped up in that game if I had it -always the chance to catch one quite a bit bigger. And to succeed, under stiff competition, one might have to relax limitations.

But knowing myself, some years I might do it, for the experience, then drift off to other ways. I'd most probably try to catch a really big one on a fly-rod and a fly design I invented (I actually don't own a fly I didn't invent, or at least tied myself). The numbers or tally sheet just wouldn't be my game in the end.

My hat's off to those that have that goal. And I'm very pleased to hear what knowledge these practitioners will share. It's all good.

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Chris, I don't know what 'sight fishing' would have to do with how your friend approaches the concept of fishing other than his issues with his eyesight, but his methods work for HIM, possibly not for anyone else. No problem there. I don't fish swimbaits, nor buy them, too expensive and I personally don't wish to throw something that large. I don't feel as if I'm losing out on anything. My concept is I go fishing & hope to catch fish using the techniques I've learned, taught myself, and with the tools I have at my disposal. If I score, wonderful, if not, so be it, I learn from the experience. Fishing to me is both a challenge and relaxation. I'm there on the bank (no boat) because I want to be, and I hope to hunt my next PB, but even if I walk with nothing, I have no problem because I will examine what I've done right and wrong.

Hope this makes some sense.

:D

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Thank you for the responses guys.

Pitchinallday

I do anything that will catch me the largest bass possible. Even if it would involve a cane pole.

This guy isn't thinking outside the box. He doesn't even have to cast the big baits if he doesn't want to. He can deadstick swimbaits and troll them!

Of course I agree, but maybe that's just us....

Muddy, good post..... However

Would you change your style to fish his style?

"IF" he was catching 7 DD bass to my 1, absolutely "YES" ! I'd at least give his methods a solid effort. Granted, what works for one angler, might not be what works best for the next. But I'd have to try his techniques first, before I decided that they were not for me.

Here's an example; I know one trophy bass guru who catches SO many big bass trolling, it's just rediculous ! I've tried, and tried, and have yet to catch a single DD bass while trolling..... But his example is living proof > It works ! I'm just not doing something correctly, but years later, I still have not given up on the idea. In fact, I trolled a little last week, and plan to troll that stretch again this next week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You guys have to remember, all up until 11 years ago, I had never caught a bass over 10 lbs myself (even though I lived and fished in Cali, for close to 30 years before that)

So when I finally decided that I wanted to catch "a bass" over 10 lbs, I tried to throw everything I'd ever learned completely out the window ! Afterall > everything I'd ever learned, had failed to catch me even 1 bass over 10 lbs, in 30 years of trying <

So yea', I searched out big bass gurus high and low. And with the handful I found, I considered any crazy ideas they had, if I believed these things had helped their success.

Sure, I guess every angler will end up developing some aspects of his fishing, that are "all his" based on personal experiences. But generally speaking, their is nothing I do, that hasn't been done before. Live bait, sight fishing, big swimbaits..... all things that have produced countless big bass for others, and will continue to produce countless more after I'm long gone.

Peace,

Fish

PS, SirSnooksAlot, obviously we are on a completely different page.

I was about to regurgitate after reading this post

I have no idea why. I thought I made it totally clear that the guy in question, was a nice guy, and a good fisherman.

I take LOTS of fish photos, first and foremost, for ME ! Although I believe lots of guys here enjoy looking at them too. Secondly, I take lots of photos that don't have a fish anywhere in them, as I'm into photography.

To myself, and a lot of others, the weight does matter. I keep track of big fish numbers in my head, that many will never even hear about. Biggest from a particular lake. Biggest on a particular lure or bait. Biggest on a particular point. If I didn't keep these numbers, what would my future goals be ??? These are the numbers I'm constantly trying to break. Remember, I'm not competitive, and so I'm pretty much only fishing against myself. {If you "are" competitive, you might not understand, or believe this. I run into those types from time to time}

I see little point in bragging about size and numbers.

Ya' know, I think a guy has a right to be proud of his fishing accomplishments. I certainly am. But never have I felt that my fishing accomplishments make me a better person. I constantly remind guys that {given the same opportunities} they could catch any of the fish that I do. I think theirs a difference in being proud of ones accomplishments, and in being arrogant. If you have mistook me for the latter, I'm sorry. You might feel differently if we met in person.

I have posted a few pics, something I will never do again.

Man, I'm sorry. That was a bad experience for you, huh ? :-?

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Without knowing the original poster or the person being talked about I may be reading a perception rather than actual fact.

You are.

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Hey Mitch, sure that makes sense. What you, and several others have said, is that catching the biggest fish possible, is not always the first and foremost thing on your minds, and I totally understand that. It's not with me either..... only about 98% of the time ;-)

But just to reiterate, the point I was trying to make, is that this guy "is a big bass guy" who I believe would catch a lot more big bass, if he would try some other things.

And to look at it the other way around, yes, I have tried most of the stuff he does, and what I have found, is that {just as his own numbers of DD bass in the last 30 years would suggest} his methods make it tougher to catch DD bass.

Peace,

Fish

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I dont know Fish, I cant seem to catch big fish for crap on swimbaits. My two biggest fish are on plastic worms for crying out loud. Maybe I should become a little less open minded to swimbaits ;D

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I am the same way, i do not like throwing swim baits. I have never had any luck with them. You know what they say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

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Ahhh hey biz :-) ...and Dink, If it makes you feel any better, I've got a best, long time friend, who lives about 200 yards from me as the crow flys. Granted, he's mostly a tournament guy, but he's yet to get one on a swimbait (a big swimbait / a Hud) either.

I think a lot of it has to do with the "snowball effect".

It's like this; A guy throws a swimbait a little here, and a little there. He doesn't get so much as a bite. Which makes it "REALLY" hard to keep throwing it. So now he's throwing it even less often here, and almost never there. So the odds go down even further, on a bait that's already much more of a "long shot bait" in the first place.

But if the guy can just stick 1 good fish on it, it makes it SO much easier to keep throwing it ! And if you keep throwing it, the odds just keep going up that you will catch another.... and another, and before you know it, you will hardly want to throw anything else !

It's just "getting over that hump" that's so hard.

Peace,

Fish

PS, If I had to judge what swimbait fishing was like, based on my "last trip", I'd never want to throw them either ! :-) LOL

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Ahhh hey biz :-) ...and Dink, If it makes you feel any better, I've got a best, long time friend, who lives about 200 yards from me as the crow flys. Granted, he's mostly a tournament guy, but he's yet to get one on a swimbait (a big swimbait / a Hud) either.

I think a lot of it has to do with the "snowball effect".

It's like this; A guy throws a swimbait a little here, and a little there. He doesn't get so much as a bite. Which makes it "REALLY" hard to keep throwing it. So now he's throwing it even less often here, and almost never there. So the odds go down even further, on a bait that's already much more of a "long shot bait" in the first place.

But if the guy can just stick 1 good fish on it, it makes it SO much easier to keep throwing it ! And if you keep throwing it, the odds just keep going up that you will catch another.... and another, and before you know it, you will hardly want to throw anything else !

It's just "getting over that hump" that's so hard.

Peace,

Fish

PS, If I had to judge what swimbait fishing was like, based on my "last trip", I'd never want to throw them either ! :-) LOL

Man, you could not have described me any better Fish Chris! It's kind of scary, LOL! That's exactly how i am. I use to always rag on my buddy for using Sweet Beavers. One day i was alone on the lake and tried one. Lets just say that i have about 30 bags on hand now, LOL!   :D

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you know chris, my hat is off to anyone who has the sheer willpower to be a trophy hunter every second of every day they are on the water. i have untold respect for guys who can do it even 75% of the time. honestly, i tried it and it just about destroyed my love for fishing. i made catching big fish my no. 1 priority. i found myself feeling empty and depressed when i couldn't produce. the longer i went between catching big fish the worse it was. it finally got to a point where few highs couldn't overcome the many lows. i decided i had to re-evaluate what i was doing or stop fishing altogether because it was becoming too much like work.

my problem was easy enough to identify when i stepped back and looked at things objectively. i had stopped fishing like i wanted to, and started fishing the way i HAD TO (to produce big fish). i felt i had to do everything in my power to "make it happen" every time i went. and when i inevitably couldn't "make it happen", i always left the lake feeling like an idiot because obviously i had done something wrong if i hadn't produced a big fish. it was quite obvious that i was not wired to be a full-time trophy hunter. it was there and then that i decided to restore some balance to my fishing. in the process, i found that i also restored the enjoyment and the fulfillment.

i still enjoy catching big fish from time to time. but now i have struck a balance that i am happy with. i dedicate a portion of my fishing to producing big fish and a portion to fun and just trying to catch a few decent ones (or better yet, many). i never try to "make it happen" anymore. i give myself a certain portion of time most trips to "let it happen" if it's going to. if it does, great. if it doesn't i take what the lake will give me and go home happy.

i think there are 3 important W's in being able to catch big fish - (1) what (the type of bait you are throwing or technique you are using). (2) where you fish. and (3) when you fish. of those 3, i think "what" is the least important. yet it's the one everyone wants to focus on. be at the right place at the right time and if you get a convincing presentation in front of a big fish, they will bite plenty of the time regardless of what you have tied on. as far as the "what's" go in my bass fishing, i only throw what i want to and what i feel comfortable with. the big fish that i miss out on because i'm not using a technique that i despise are not worth the frustration of doing it and trying to convince myself i'm having fun.

so i guess i can kinda relate to your friend. i just have to have that "balance" to take the pressure off and enjoy myself. hunting big fish full time by whatever legal means necessary would make me a miserable person. and ironically enough, i think when i catch a big fish now, it is far more enjoyable and satisfying than it was back in my "gotta make it happen" days.

this is a great thread chris. a lot of food for thought here and a good prompt for us all to take inventory and see if we're happy with the "type" of fisherman we are. :) thanks for posting it.

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Hey Dink, that's because "I have been there myself" ! You just wouldn't believe how tough my first good one on a swimbait was ! I swear that must have taken 10,000 casts on 100 days ! But I finally caught a 9.7 and I was just elated ! :-) Part of me knew it had to eventually work..... but it was easy to let doubt creep in... until it finally happened ! :-) The second, third, (and on and on) ones didn't take near so long.

Paul, thank you very much. Man, I hope everyone knows, I can / have gotten burned out too. I often tell the story about how I threw a swimbait for 8 to 10 hours a day, 3 days a week, for like 6 weeks, without a single freaking fish to show for it !

So, I got to a point where I was either going to jump off of a tall building..... or just shift gears, and do something for fun. So, I brought a bunch of crawlers, and went catfishing. And what did I catch ? A 13.0 lb Largemouth ! :-) Go figure ! Did catch a couple of good catfish too though. So, the next week, the weather was finally cooling off a little, and I decided to give the swimbait another good shot (because maybe six fishless weeks was not enough ;-) .....and what did I catch ? A 21 lb Channel cat, on a swimbait ! Doh ! Isn't that the greatest thing about fishing though ? You just never know :-)

Peace,

Fish

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PS, If I had to judge what swimbait fishing was like, based on my "last trip", I'd never want to throw them either ! :-) LOL

I know that for me it's not just the 1 big bite lifestyle that I wouldn't enjoy, but the fact that it would dictate my bait choices would turn me off too. Some people just plain out don't like to fish swim baits. Not that they don't work, but it's just not fun. As mentioned, many people have many different definitions of fun when it comes to fishing. Some people would be happy with a 12 pack buzz without catching a single fish. Some like 1 huge fish, and some like 35 small ones. It's all relative.

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I'l take the 12pack and 35 big ones right about now, lol.

Im soooooo burned out on bass fishing this year. What an abysmal spring so far. One 7lb 11ozer. I'm this close ] [ to selling all my crap.

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Hey Snook: Wrong take on Chris, way wrong. Thanks Chis , we look at bassin from 2 different angles but some where in there we are on some kinda same plane THATS A LITTLE TOO FREAKIN ZEN FOR ME

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