Bass Fishing – Next Time Be Prepared, Dummy!
I am going to defend myself right out of the gate. It has been an odd year. With the cool Wisconsin weather, long time lake patterns on my favorite lake are not sticking to the norm. The weedlines are changing dramatically. As they have died off rapidly, oxygen depletion seems to have moved fish out of areas I would normally find them this time of year. This has lead me to change my normal approach to catching fish. Usually, I am fairly well prepared.
I carry one bag with me full of lures, hooks, weights and baits. I have a second bag full of plastic like creatures, worms, tubes and jig trailers of all sorts. I almost always have something the bass will eat, no matter the conditions. That was true again yesterday. What I wasn’t prepared for was to fish where the bass were feeding. In HEAVY cover.
The normal bay I fish in is really in bad shape right now. In less than a week, the weedline has completely died off. It is normally very heavy with a sharp outer weed edge. Currently, it is a flotsam of scum, dead weeds and dirty water. Except where a small stream flows in, it is devoid of fish. My assumption is that with all the decaying weeds, the oxygen content is low. I spent a short time in there last night, then returned to the main lake. If fish can’t breath, they won’t be there.
The main lake is in much better shape. The weeds are strong, the water is much clearer and the fish were active. I first tried the outer edge of the weeds, but no fish were there. That is when I decided to switch tactics… and learned I was woefully unprepared.
I switch to a lightly waited Texas-rigged tube jig and started pounding the slop. I skittered the tube across the weeds, letting it slowly sink into the open holes. BAM! Immediate results, I’d found the fish. That is when my unpreparedness became obvious. The fish dove into the weeds. My Medium Heavy rod was not up to the task of bringing the fish out fast and with power. I lost him. The next fish was the same. And the next….
Again, I am forced to defend myself. I normally do very little slop fishing. Plus, the average Wisconsin bass would make many fisherman in the South giggle. Because of this, the stoutest rod I have is a Medium Heavy. I had nothing else in the boat. So the above pattern held the rest of the night. Bite, dive, tangle, lost. The bait worked. The presentation worked. The fish attractant worked. The rod failed. I failed.
I have remedied the situation. I went to Tackle Warehouse and ordered a Lew’s combo with a 7’6″ Heavy casting rod with fast action. I am not going to be unprepared again. I am not saying you need to have every piece of gear you could possibly need. However, it became apparent that my fleet of Medium Heavy casting rods was lacking. If I want to evolve as a bass fisherman, I need to move outside my comfort zone and add some new techniques.
Just like Boy Scouts, good bass fisherman need to be prepared.