By Ryan Kennedy
Fishing on a diversified fishery brings moments of excitement along with utter disappointment. After recently fishing a Bassmaster College Series event on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee, the different habits of smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and spotted bass were made evident. When fishing in a tournament that offers a multitude of species eligible to be brought to weigh-in, a wide variety of strategies can be utilized to succeed.
No matter where a tournament takes place, dock talk will always be around for the lingering ears of others. Big Fish Larry and Spinnerbait Sammy always have plenty to say. In reality, there are endless possibilities to take advantage of to catch fish on any given lake, but a few will usually strike your fancy. Although one of your buddies might be catching heads flipping a jig in the shoreline brush, the next guy behind him is having success busting smallmouths on a rocky ridge with a tube in 20 feet of water, and to top it all off, the next competitor over is catching spots on a jigging spoon on a mid-lake hump in 40 feet of crystal clear water. “The Deal” is always going to be a little bit different for everybody.
The same tactic that might get every spotted bass that bites in the boat may be an easy way for an acrobatic smallmouth to break your heart at the boat. Being diversified in your tactics for tackling these freshwater beasts is the best way to manage each one of these species at the end of a line.
Without getting caught up in the dock chatter, follow your gut instinct to find your best plan of attack. Each and every rock, brushpile, log jam, tree, shoreline stretch, dock and point is different than the others. Approaching every cast with an open mind and thinking like a fish is a surefire way to put more fish in the boat. Never getting locked down in one mindset allows an angler to fish to the best of his or her abilities. With weather, wind and water levels constantly changing, switching up the game plan on the fly can pay off big in the long run of a tournament or even on a day of fun fishing.
Keep your head down, capitalize on the flurries and grind out the droughts. There isn’t a fish around that can’t be caught one way or another. Trust your instincts and believe that every cast is THE ONE. In the meantime, get a game plan together, and keep that line tight with the drag screaming!