Imagine for a moment: It is tournament morning, you've got all of your favorite baits tied on, such as the black and blue jig, the chartreuse and white spinnerbait, and that Texas-rigged worm. It's fall, and you're going to fish the backs of creeks since that is a typical fall pattern on reservoirs. You come in with two small bass at the weigh-in, but you're stuck with your blue and black jig in creeks because if they won't hit blue and black, they won't hit any jig. Then you find out that the winner caught their fish on a bubble gum spinnerbait fishing main lake docks! Sound familiar?
Fishing with an open mind means fishing with an open tackle box. Each day must be approached with a childlike mind. Remember back to your childhood when you thought anything was possible. That is the attitude we need to be successful.
This attitude is not easy to obtain because we have been drilled with so many beliefs through years of fishing, like black and blue jigs. True, black and blue is a very effective color combination for jigs, but what about when the bass won't hit black and blue? Have you ever tried a chartreuse jig?
Color is only one item that we must be open to. Other details include using different lures in different locations and using different retrieves. Have you have tried a bottom-bouncing buzzbait? I know they weren't designed to do that. Who says? There is a story behind this.
While practicing for a Bassmaster event, my fishing partner (my wife Joann) and I were fishing docks. While I was throwing a spinnerbait, she tried her luck with a buzzbait. On one particular cast, she backlashed. Once she got untangled, she started reeling in the buzzbait, which had been sitting on the bottom for a few minutes. After only a couple of reel turns, her rod doubled over. "I think I got one" were her famous words that won't be forgotten anytime soon. A largemouth just over 5lbs. had inhaled her lure! Her bottom-bouncing technique continued to succeed the rest of the day and on other lakes after that.
Joann also has another theory called the "Cute and Pretty Theory." She chooses her lures by how cute and pretty they are regardless of weather and water conditions, and IT WORKS! Can you imagine Michael Iaconelli describing a "Cute" lure he used to win the Classic?
There is a lesson to be learned here. Most bass fishermen get locked into certain beliefs concerning when and where to use certain baits, colors of baits, and bass behavior. To improve at this sport, we must open our minds and our tackle box. Remember, bass don't always follow the book, and neither should you.