We’d all rather be fishing, than reading or watching television about fishing. But frankly there is a lot more off-the-water time than on it. So I’m glad to have ways to keep me thinking and daydreaming about fishing when I can’t. The time spent on the water is a precious few, so it’s imperative to maximize that time. To do that, every angler should be a student of the passion. Learn everything that can be learned off the water to have more fun on the water.
Along those lines, I thought I’d share five books related to bass fishing that I like and refer to often. These books I think help make me a better angler and aid in taking a bit of the “luck” out of this hobby. But all this information also brings me back to a simple point, fishing isn’t as hard as we try to make it. It’s simply about location and presentation. To catch good fish consistently, it boils down to those two fundamental points ““ find where the fish want to be, and then trigger them to strike.
But these books serve as good reminders about covering the details to achieve the simple successes. They’re not all how-to books but do share a common theme centered around knowing your adversary and knowing the tools to beat him.
1. John Hope’s Trackin’ Trophies By Jesse Miller
This book was one of the first to really study how differently big bass behave and how much they will roam or stay near a home depending on their size. The book is a short read and well worth a weekend of reading. It covers Hope’s exploratory research using probes and radio monitoring to understand a bass’s movements. His ability to read a map and know the locations for big fish is uncanny.
2. Knowing Bass by Keith A. Jones, PhD.
Doc” Jones is the famous mastermind behind the scent and actions of Berkley’s great products. Probably few individuals have studied bass as much Jones has, and his long years of study came through in this very detailed book of the bass’s behavior and how to capitalize on it as an angler.
3. Bob McNally’s Complete Book of Fishermen’s Knots, Fishing Rigs, and How to Use Them by Bob McNally
Mcnally and his father have long been regarded as the foremost experts in knot tying and rigging for generations. Short of having the San Diego knot, this print run of the book covers it all and why and when to tie a certain knot. Because of this book, I can tie a uni, a Palomar, a clinch, a double clinch, a Rapala knot and more in my sleep. FLW Outdoors Magazine features one of McNally’s book’s knots every issue.
4. In Pursuit of Giant BASS by Bill Murphy
This book focuses primarily on live bait fishing, something I admittedly don’t do much, but the principles helped me to fine tune my jig fishing, how I position a boat and move a boat while fishing. The book helped me to understand a lot more about classic big fish holding areas and how a big bass isn’t just sitting in one place waiting for you to throw your bait there. Some books since this one have been written based on the concepts in this book. The original is always the best in my opinion.
5. Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass by Monte Burke
This book isn’t as much how-to as the others. But it does have a few interesting conclusions that can be drawn about chasing big fish and the mindset one has to have to catch big bass consistently. What I liked about the book is that the focus was on being great at catching bass was more about effort and time than knowledge and skill. If you put your time in on the water, the big bass will come to you.