Although I love the shallow-water stuff, I’ve always had somewhat of a knack for winding a deep crankbait for some reason. I’m certainly not the world’s best at it, but I can definitely catch a few on a big plug when the conditions call for it.
With the help of my friend and our publisher, Jason Sealock, I’ve been working really hard at becoming a better deep-water angler in recent years. Sealock is one of the best deep guys I know and he has been teaching me different nuances and answering lots of questions from me. Above all, he has stressed to me how important versatility is in the deep game. I took that as him nicely saying that I need to get off the big plug and learn how to catch ’em other ways, too. I’m stubborn and he knows it.
But this time, I waited to experiment until I landed on a mega school one day this past June. I immediately caught two on a crankbait and I could tell they were stacked and biting like crazy; it was one of those special schools you probably only find once or twice per summer. When I would normally crank until they quit biting, I actually made myself put up my cranking rods and I just started throwing everything I wasn’t comfortable with.
Drop shot that I felt such repugnance towards? Yep, I caught like 10 on it. Football jig that I kept losing fish on? Yep, I caught four or five on it. Big swimbait that has always intimidated me? Yep. I caught a bunch on it. Damiki rig that I had seen on BASS Live but never tried? I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but I caught some nice ones on it.
Am I a master of those techniques now? That’s laughable. Heck no, I’m not. But because I waited for an awesome fishing day to try ’em, I’m at least moderately comfortable with them. If I’m ever guiding a fishing trip or fishing a tournament during a tough day, I feel like I can maybe scratch up a few important keepers on that stuff now. That one afternoon taught me a bunch about proper hookset methods, casting angles and presentations. If I would have tried all of that stuff on a tough fishing day, I would have gotten frustrated, put the boat on the trailer and had even less confidence than before I started.
Again, this is just something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I have never claimed to have all the answers and of course, every angler has their own style and way of doing things. What works for me may not work for you, but I thought my musings might help some folks as we enter into maybe the toughest bass fishing period of the year.
What do you think?