When you hear anglers mention fishing pressure they are usually talking about many other fishermen in the same area fishing for the same fish. This kind of pressure can definitely have a big impact on the outcome of all the anglers in the area. However this is not the only type of fishing pressure for an angler fishing an area by himself can impose the same effect. I had this happen to me just last week in the Harney Pond area on Lake Okeechobee and I’m going to give you some tips that will help you keep the fish biting longer.
One of the best tips came from my first Bassmasters Classic way back in 1985 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Rick Clunn won the Classic the year before in 1984 and before the 1985 Classic I read everything I could get my hands on about what Rick did to wax the field by almost 25lbs. No Classic was ever dominated by one angler like Rick did at that event. Back in those days information came in the form of magazines and newspapers, there were no television fishing shows or internet to get all the details of just how this event was won. The first two days of the 1984 Classic Rick used a 7A Bomber to fish a shallow drop-off with some stumps lining the edge. He was the only angler fishing this area and Rick caught a lot of bass and was dominating the event. Then came day three and the fishing pressure that Rick was putting on those fish had a big effect. He fished this magical spot for an hour without a bite with the shad colored Bomber with no results. So Rick got down in his boat and brought out another bait that those bass hadn’t seen, and you have to remember some of the bass that were there had been caught in the first two days of the event. The bait was another crank bait, a No. 7 Rapala Shad Rap and the rest is history. Rick began to catch the largest limit of the tournament just by showing the fish a different look, a different action than the Bomber bait that was so good the first two days. What I learned by reading this helped me finish 4th in the 1985 Classic and I was the only angler to catch a limit every day of that event and I was hooked on tournament fishing from then on.
To this day this tip I learned so many years ago still holds true today, just last week my customers from Indiana and I found an area that had a lot of bass and we caught many by just fishing a spinner bait, but after an hour or so of really good action the bite stopped. We all changed lures to Rattle Traps and King Shad swim baits and went back though the same area and the fish started biting the new baits better than they did the spinner bait. Just using something they hadn’t seen made all the difference. After a while the bite slowed down again and I rigged up a wacky rigged Senko and made five casts to the hot spot and caught five on five casts after the bite stopped. What we learned was the bass didn’t leave the area but after they saw the same baits for a while they got really wary and wouldn’t hit them.
One other tip I’ve learned over the years is to stay as far from the fish as you can and stay off the trolling motor, power-pole down and don’t be in a hurry. The fish aren’t going anywhere, show them a lot of different baits when you think they have stopped feeding. I think you will be surprised at the outcome. The late Doug Hannon once told me that bass aren’t intelligent but everything they learn and process has to do with their survival. They are very wary creatures. I think we can all learn from those words from the one we called the Bass Professor. The bottom line here is when they slow down, show them a lot of different stuff, Lord knows we all have a lot of stuff.
Until next month, Tight Lines!