ThousandHillsBass5-5-2009When it comes to tournaments everyone wants to weigh in a limit of kicker size fish and win. One of the problems that an angler can face is having the right mindset and the mental toughness it takes to go for just five solid bites. When I started out tournament fishing I was having a lot of days where I would go out and whack 30 to 40 fish on the day and I would come in with only a couple of keepers. The problem was that catching a lot of bass didn’t always translate into catching the right kind of bass. The guys were not beating me because I wasn’t mechanically sound, or because I wasn’t presenting my baits right, or because I wasn’t giving it my all. I bet most of the time I made 400 to 500 more casts a day than them. The reason why they were beating me was that they were just being more efficient and effective when it came to fishing for the right kind of bites. A lot of good fisherman who were up at the top would tell me they only caught 5 or 6 fish all day. It is easy to fall into the trap of catching short fish and believing that you can catch keepers with the same techniques or in the same areas especially after you put a couple of smaller keepers in the boat. After all we’ve all been told a bass is a bass. There is a difference however in targeting larger fish and if you want to be in the winners circle you have to be willing to go out and look for it. You have to be willing to experiment and put in your time to figure out those subtler patterns that the bigger fish are following.

The toughest thing about searching for bigger bites is that it can be a lot more time consuming and if you don’t have a whole lot of time to practice it can be difficult to do when you are wanting to get on fish fast. When your out pre-fishing a lot of times math can help you figure it out. If you catch a really nice fish on a deep diving crank bait that you threw only 10 percent of the day and you caught 20 fish with and a couple of smaller keepers on a variety of baits that you threw 80 percent of the day and say another nice keeper on a jig you threw just 10 percent of the day you might ask yourself the question what would happen if I threw the crank bait 50 percent of the day and the jig the other 50 percent? Or one of them 100 percent of the day.? You might not get that many bites but the bites you do get will be of a better quality.

Often getting the bigger bite comes down to looking for areas that have an abundance of forage and cover adjacent to deeper water and then fishing these areas with larger baits. Big fish don’t get to the size they are by expending energy while chasing after their food or by traveling long distances to rest after feeding. Bigger fish are opportunistic feeders and they look for one big easy meal to come along. They like to pick out areas where they only have to move a couple of feet from deeper water to feed. You want to keep this in mind when you are in search of them. Biologists have proven that bigger fish take longer to open there mouths and strike so often big slow moving baits are the best big fish producers. That is why the jig is such a great big fish producer. That is not to say that big fish cannot be caught on faster moving baits. A deep running crank bait is a big fish producer because it will get you reaction strikes from large fish that are inactive. Reaction lures can trick big fish into striking out of reflex. Whether you go fast or slow when your fishing for bigger fish you want to also try and use the heaviest tackle you can. If your only going to get a handful of bites you better be able to put them in the boat. You need the right tackle to put your bait in some of the most cover laden areas so you want to have strong line and a strong rod to move them away from it. I recommend GAMMA High Performance Co-Polymer line for the ultimate in strength and abrasion resistance when targeting large bass.

Next time you go fishing separate yourself from most of the anglers on the water and look for the bigger bite. If you like catching a lot of fish, as much as I do, I know that it can be a real challenge but if you give it some time and can stay focused you will most likely see an increase in the size of the fish you catch. When you become a five bite fisherman you will also make it into the check line on a consistent basis. Thanks for reading and until next time good fishing!